Major UKRI - Versus Arthritis investment funds transformative pain research

A Keele Professor is part of a new consortium leading research into the psychosocial mechanisms of chronic pain.

Researchers including Keele’s Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham have successfully secured £3.8 million for a four-year project focusing on the psychosocial aspect of chronic pain. Professor Chew-Graham is among the researchers that form the consortium, which is led by the University of Bath and also includes academics from the universities of Bath Spa, Bristol, Cardiff, Royal Holloway, University College London, and the University of the West of England.

They will study the psychological and social factors that influence people’s experience of pain. To date, our understanding of their relative importance is limited; nor do we know how psychosocial factors influence biological signals of pain.

Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham said: “This is an exciting programme to be involved in. I am co-leading the patient and public involvement and engagement for the whole programme: members of the public were integral to the funding application and will contribute, and be integrated into, all the work we do as part of the programme.”

Consortium lead and principal investigator, Professor Ed Keogh of the Bath Centre for Pain Research at the University of Bath, added: “Chronic pain is incredibly common and can be highly debilitating. With one in five of us experiencing chronic pain, this new research funding provides a much needed and timely opportunity to understand better how chronic pain develops and is maintained.

“Pain is a highly complex topic and this funding will enable us to conduct transformative research. Not only does it allow us to research the mechanisms underpinning chronic pain in more detail, but it also enables us to work together collaboratively across different institutions and with colleagues across the UK. Greater understanding will ultimately help us to develop better ways of treating and managing pain.”

The project forms part of a wider £14 million investment from UKRI and the charity Versus Arthritis, which will see four new research consortia and a national chronic pain data hub established help the researchers to massively scale up current research into chronic pain in order to improve outcomes for the many people living with painful and debilitating conditions such as low back pain.