Group photo from BHF Accelerator Event
Guests attend the event at the Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre

The University of Birmingham was recently awarded a British Heart Foundation (BHF) Accelerator Award, led by the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. This BHF award went to the Institute’s principal investigators Roy Bicknell, Larissa Fabritz, Paulus Kirchhof, Ed Rainger and Steve Watson who together with more junior researchers steer the award in a committee.

The University of Birmingham is one of only six universities in the UK to receive an Accelerator Award of £1 million, which will support world-leading cardiovascular research. The University of Birmingham has matched the investment to empower researchers to undertake innovative science, and spark new collaborations in cardiovascular research.

Members of the Institute, University colleagues and external partners came together to celebrate the research that secured the award.

The celebratory event highlighted the excellent cardiovascular research in Birmingham. As well as supporting existing research, the Accelerator Award has provided the opportunity to offer funds through the newly-created BHF Disruptive Idea Award. The four winners of this year's Disruptive Idea Award, Abdullah Khan, Jasmeet Reyat, Mark Thomas, Christopher O'Shea and William Bradlow. They will receive support for interdisciplinary and inter-faculty research into platelet formation, thrombo-inflammation, sudden death, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation.

As the Institute is growing, three recent recruits, Professor Dirk-Peter Herten, Dr Katja Gehmlich and Dr Asif Iqbal, spoke on why they decided to move to Birmingham to join the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. The talks offered an insight on their first impressions of the campus, the working environment and highlighting our interdisciplinary environment and collegiate research culture.

The official part of the afternoon concluded with congratulatory speeches from Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice Chancellor of the University of Birmingham; Professor David Adams, Head of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences; Professor Paulus Kirchhof, Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences; and positive words from the Medical Director of the BHF, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani.

The day ended with vibrant discussions about science in a poster session that illustrated ongoing projects, with prizes for the 'Best Poster', judged by Professor Sir Samani and Professor Adams. First prize was awarded to Christopher O'Shea for his work on 'Arrhythmia analysis of electrogram and optical data in ElectroMap: an open-source software platform'.

The event received many positive responses from patients, who took part in clinical trials, and members of the BHF. The Institute looks forward to sharing the research that the Accelerator Award will provide.