Keele Secures Breakthrough Wellcome Trust Funding

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Posted on 08 September 2016

The Wellcome Trust has announced that a bid led by Keele University for investment into Primary Care research will see a comprehensive programme of PhDs for clinicians ring-fenced for five years.

The Keele led group, which includes Oxford, Cambridge and Southampton, will cover a range of areas clinically important to Primary Care, with Keele’s PhD programmes focusing on mental health, musculoskeletal disorders and multimorbidity.

Professor Christian Mallen, Deputy Director of the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Services and Director of the new Wellcome PhD Programme said:

“We are delighted to have the recognition and support from the Wellcome Trust to build capacity in Academic Primary Care. This investment will have a significant impact on improving the evidence base in general practice.

The Government have an ambitious target of attracting 50% of students into General Practice. Improving the profile of academic primary care will help with this challenge. There are 40,000 GPs in the UK, but the academic workforce is just 200, a number that has not changed over the last decade. As we move to a more primary care orientated health service it is essential that we prioritise builing academic research capacity.”

Currently there are only a handful of PhDs available for primary care clinicians each year, and with four new prestigious Wellcome Trust Fellowships per year over the next  five years Professor Mallen believes we could see a step wise change in meeting both the Governments’ targets and the health challenges the population faces.

“This funding will help develop the next generation of leaders in academic general practice, with their research impacting on the day-to-day clinical practice. With the breadth and depth of the partnership between these institutions, we are likely to see gains in lots of different clinical areas.”

These clinical PhD programmes were announced by the Wellcome Trust as one of seven new clinical PhD programmes across the UK and Republic of Ireland, building on their five existing programmes. All of the programmes will be recruiting students this autumn to start in 2017 and information about Keele’s programmes and how to apply will be made available on the research institute page in due course.  

For more information about the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences click here and for more on the Wellcome Trust funding click here