RfPB is a national programme that aims to fund research that can increase the effectiveness of NHS and care services, provide value for money, and benefit patients. The appointment, therefore, is a fitting reflection of Professor Knight's commitment to generating robust national evidence to inform practical improvements in patient care and service planning.
Since 2012, Professor Knight has been a Professor of Maternal and Child Population Health at NPEU. Her research focuses on using national observational studies to address clinical questions concerning rare and severe complications of pregnancy and early life. This includes leading the MBRRACE-UK national confidential enquiries into maternal morbidity and mortality, the findings from which have directly influenced actions to reduce disparities in pregnancy outcomes for women and babies.
As Director, Professor Knight will work with the Chairs from across the eight RfPB Regional Advisory Panels to assess and fund research applications. Over 14 years, RfPB has funded over 1000 projects with budgets from £50,000 to £350,000, besides providing early-career funding support to many successful researchers.
RfPB funding has supported various projects conducted through the NPEU. These include:
I am very much looking forward to the challenge of this new role, working with professionals across the breadth of the health and social care systems to find innovative ways to improve the lives of patients and service users. My own work has highlighted the need for research throughout the wider health and care systems to address disparities in women's health, a key priority area for NIHR, and I am excited to take the RfPB programme forward for its next five years.