Health care expert to head new regional research collaboration

A new £9m health and social care research collaboration in the region is being headed by the University’s Professor Stephen Peckham.

Professor Peckham will be the first Director of the new Applied Research Collaboration in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, which was launched on 11 July.

The initiative, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), aims to improve health and social care research. The funding will be made available over five years and be boosted by an additional £5m investment from local NHS trusts, local authorities and universities.

Professor Peckham, who continues as Director of the University’s Centre for Health Services Studies, will work with researchers from across the partner health and social care organisations and universities to develop research to help improve services and train the next generation of health and social care researchers.

Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Kent, said: ‘I welcome the award of NIHR funding for a new Applied Research Collaboration for Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The success in gaining one of these prestigious national awards is recognition of the close collaboration between this university and NHS organisations, local authorities and universities across this region.

‘I am delighted that Professor Peckham will be director of the new collaboration and welcome our working partnership with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as lead organisations within this new venture.’

Nicola Blackwood, Health Minister, said: ‘As the population grows and demand on the NHS increases, it is paramount we develop the next generation of technologies and improve the way we work to ensure the NHS continues to offer world-leading care.

‘The UK has a proud history of cutting edge health research and by supporting the great minds in health and social care, this funding has the potential to unlock solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing healthcare and revolutionise the way patients access treatments in the future.’

The University is already involved in the setting up of the new Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS), in collaboration with Canterbury Christ Church University. KMMS will bring the next generation of medical professionals to the region through the placement of aspiring trainee doctors at primary healthcare settings and hospitals.