Research and innovation are embedded at University Hospitals Sussex
Saving and Improving Lives: The Future of Clinical Research Delivery published by the UK Government and devolved administrations in 2021 sets out a vision for innovative research delivery across the NHS. This means embedding clinical research in the heart of patient care across the NHS, making participation as easy as possible and ensuring all health and care staff feel empowered to support research.
At University Hospitals Sussex Research and Innovation is one of the “True North” themes. This places Research and Innovation at the heart of everything we do. UHSx will be a place where all the patients we care for have the opportunity to participate in high quality clinical research relevant to them and where all staff have the opportunity to contribute to research. This means embedding research in clinical care, across our organisation, throughout our workforce, and in partnership with NHS and academic partners.
The Trust’s True North themes form part of our wider Patient First Programme – our long-term approach to transforming hospital services for the better: it is a process of continuous improvement that gives frontline staff the freedom to identify opportunities for positive, sustainable change and the skills to make it happen.
We have established a new Health Research Partnership with our Integrated Care Board (ICB), NHS and academic partners: we have specific aims to break down barriers to health and care research in the region, whilst achieving the huge potential to grow the region’s contribution to health and care research which we know exists.
Increasing clinical research opportunities for our patients
At UHSussex we have pledged to increase the number and types of clinical research opportunities available to our patients. We also want to involve patients more, not just as participants, but also as active collaborators to promote, support and develop our research studies through the Research Champions scheme.
We have fostered strong relationships between research, clinical practice, academic science and industry. We have developed a broad range of clinical research programmes with a focus on Experimental Cancer Medicine, HIV, immunology, inflammation, infectious disease, cardiovascular disease, renal and dementia and neurodegenerative disorders.
We work in partnership with the Brighton and Sussex Medical School to deliver high quality research and also with our other local academic partners at the University of Chichester, University of Surrey , University of Brighton, University of Sussex, the University of Southampton and the University of Portsmouth.
We are key regional partners in the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) infrastructure including:
- Clinical Research Network – Kent, Surrey, Sussex
- Academic Health Science Network
- Kent, Surrey, Sussex Applied Research Collaboration
- Research Design Service South East
We have a dedicated Clinical Research Facility at our Royal Sussex County Hospital site. Our highly trained team department and expert staff deliver high intensity experimental research which plays a vital part in helping speed up the translation of scientific advances for the benefit of patients.
Increasing staff participation in research
Increasing the number of our staff participating in research is at the heart of what we do. Supporting our staff to grow research that is relevant to the services they provide, and the patients they care for, is how we deliver research which is driven by local needs to improve local healthcare.
For some staff this may range from leading on NIHR portfolio studies to supporting research as a member of the direct care team (such as identifying eligible patients and offering these patients opportunities to take part in an NHS clinical research study).
For other staff this can mean taking up one of the opportunities we have embedded in clinical services to help develop research careers Our new Medical Doctoral Fellowships scheme, launched in 2022, in partnership with Health Education England (HEE) Kent, Surrey and Sussex, and our Chief Nurse Fellows Programme for Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals (NMAHP) supported by HEE are two of the opportunities available within UHSussex.
The Trust is committed to developing roles which support our staff to combine academic and clinical practice roles: this enables our staff to bring the latest research evidence to their everyday practice and improve the care and experiences provided to patients and others.
UHSussex is establishing itself as the major acute hospitals site for clinical research in the South East of England. Our vision is to continue this development as a leading academic health centre, increase opportunities to develop new strands in our research portfolio and deliver further benefits to our patients.