Dr Marian Knight of the NPEU is one of eight of the UK’s most promising leaders in medical health research to be awarded a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) professorship, the Government announced today.
Each professor will receive around £1.5m of funding to conduct research into conditions that affect millions of patients across the UK.
Dr Marian Knight, from the University of Oxford, is to receive funding for her research project, which aims to improve care for pregnant women and babies with life-threatening illnesses.
Dr Knight said: "Severe illnesses in pregnancy and early childhood can be devastating for parents and families. This funding will be key to helping us work out how best to treat both pregnant women with life threatening illnesses and babies who require surgery in early life.
"Importantly, it will allow me to undertake new work investigating how children and their parents are affected by early surgery and the need for multiple hospital visits, and how we can make care better for them."
Health minister Anne Milton said:
"The professors will be given the opportunity to develop their research programmes, but most importantly they won't stop treating NHS patients. This will help make sure that new ideas make the leap from the bench to the bedside.
"We want to see medical research advance, and to do that it is essential that we nurture the very best researchers to the benefit of NHS patients."
Promoting and fostering the kind of research that the new NIHR research professors will carry out is one of the Government’s top priorities, and through the Health and Social Care Bill the role that research plays in the health service will continue to be strengthened.
The professors were selected by an international panel of independent experts. The second round of the competition is also opening today, and the next group of NIHR professors will be appointed later in the year.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Health said:
"Each one of these professors already has an impressive track record, and I look forward to working with them in the future and seeing them flourish. They will provide much needed research leadership in their chosen field, and help us build more capacity and capability within the NIHR in very important areas.
"Our original intention was to appoint only five new research professors, but the international expert panel found the quality of applications so high that they advised eight awards should be made."
Notes to editors
For media enquiries only, please contact the Department of Health press office on 020 7210 5221.
A full list of the new NIHR professors, as well as details of their research and contact details is available on request. Alternatively, please visit: http://www.nihr.ac.uk/faculty/Pages/ResearchProfessorships.aspx
Today’s announcement coincides with the start of a new competition for the second round of NIHR Research Professorship competition. These awards are open to health researchers and methodologists with an outstanding record of clinical and applied health research and its effective translation for improved health. For more information please visit: http://www.nihrtcc.nhs.uk/researchprofessor
On the 5th December 2011 the Prime Minister launched a new Strategy for UK Life Sciences which aims to continue the country's record of world-leading innovation in life sciences. In the strategy, the Government describes how it aims to provide a better environment for life sciences, to improve the lives of patients and contribute to economic growth. The strategy highlights the important contribution NIHR research makes to innovation in life sciences, and sets out a number of key actions where NIHR is leading.
About the NIHR
The National Institute for Health Research provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients.http://www.nihr.ac.uk