Our partnerships with regional NHS Trusts are very strong, as exemplified by Birmingham Health Partners (BHP), an exciting collaborative platform between the University, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
BHP enables the rapid translation of laboratory discovery to patient benefit, fostering new therapeutic and healthcare innovations by creating an integrated environment for researchers and clinicians. It co-funds and manages the recently opened Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM) and has delivered the largest single renewal grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) of £12.8m in 2016 for the Birmingham NIHR Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (NIHR-WT CRF). This includes a paediatric facility at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, a satellite facility in the Centre for Translational Inflammation Research (CTIR; located within the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham) and gene and cell therapy programmes within our Advanced Therapy Facility (ATF).
The ATF incorporates the Human Biomaterials Resource Centre (HBRC), which works with a large number of NHS Trusts in the region and acts as the hub for collaborative initiatives such as the 100,000 Genomes Project (West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre [WM GMC]). The WM GMC draws upon our unique population demographic through a collaboration of 18 NHS Trusts co-ordinated by our partnership with the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WM AHSN). The WM AHSN brings together NHS commissioners, providers of NHS services, industry, academia and representatives of the people of the West Midlands to support the spread and adoption of innovation across the region.
We also partner with many other Universities, both in the UK and overseas, on collaborative research projects and, more recently, split site PhD opportunities. These partnerships maximise our research outputs and provide PhD students with opportunities to broaden their knowledge and skills across multiple world leading institutions.
Projects with international partners include a large number of Horizon 2020 awards and more specialist strategic collaborations, such as Universitas 21 and Sun Yat Sen University, China. The COMPARE project will augment our position as a research powerhouse for academic drug discovery. It will harness cutting-edge developments in Super Resolution Microscopy that will enable researchers to visualise what happens when a drug binds to a cell surface receptor or protein in real-time.
The Phenome Centre Birmingham is a large metabolic phenotyping facility led by internationally-recognised metabolomics and clinical experts at the University in collaboration with BHP. It has been established as part of a UK Stratified Medicine initiative led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) to develop capacity and capability to perform large-scale metabolic phenotyping of the human population for stratified medicine. The centre along with additional facilities, including the ITM laboratory, were funded through the University’s £7.2m MRC Enhancing UK's Clinical Research Capabilities and Technologies award and Wolfson, bringing technology and infrastructure to design and deliver novel precision medicine trials.
In addition to the NHS Trusts in our immediate vicinity, the College works closely with many of the teaching hospitals, clinical commissioning groups and training practices across the West Midlands. Students are encouraged to broaden their knowledge and experience by working across a wide range of organisations and experiencing the varied cultures and demographics of the West Midlands.
Our cross campus collaborations within the University are vital to share expertise and knowledge across disciplines, as well as facilities, equipment and resources. We have strong relationships with all other University Colleges, most notably with the College of Life and Environmental Sciences in connection with the Life Sciences Strategy. Other strong links are with the Business School within the College of Social Sciences for education delivery, and with the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences for both teaching and research activity.