Professors Tim Softley, Paulus Kirchhof stand to the left of the VC Professor Sir David Eastwood, with Professor Sir Nilesh Samani to the right.

The University of Birmingham has received £1 million funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to strengthen its ground-breaking research into heart and circulatory diseases.

The university is one of only six institutions in the UK to be awarded with a BHF Accelerator Award, which encourages pioneering research of the highest calibre. A special event was held at the Edgbaston Park Hotel in Birmingham yesterday (Monday 28th October) to mark the accolade.

The Accelerator Award will bolster the university’s research in atrial fibrillation (AF), heart failure, thrombo-inflammation and vascular biology. It will create a joined-up research pipeline from discovery science to health services research, including the provision of integrated training for scientists and clinical academics.

Researchers will also have greater access to super-resolution imaging, complex disease models, clinical research infrastructure and large datasets – all of which will help advance their research from bench to bedside.

The award will further fund a number of new positions that will help to integrate research excellence, including new research nurse capacity in local hospitals, data scientists working within the Midlands Health Data Research UK (HDR-UK) and fundamental researchers embedded into the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and the Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE).

The research will be coordinated in the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences (ICVS) and translated uniquely by Birmingham Health Partners (BHP) – a strategic alliance between the University and two NHS Foundation Trusts: University Hospitals Birmingham and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s. Research enabled by the grant will also be supported by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust (SWBH).

Award director Professor Paulus Kirchhof, who is Director of the ICVS, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences and Consultant Cardiologist working across BHP and SWBH, explained: “This award recognises that we have a strong cohort of emerging leaders and upcoming researchers, whose work will be supported by this vital funding.

“This investment will greatly accelerate translation of new scientific discoveries to develop new treatments for patients in the city and beyond.”

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, added: “The BHF Accelerator Award is recognition of the quality of the cardiovascular research at the University of Birmingham.

“We currently fund around £13 million of research at the university, and the flexible funding provided by the Accelerator Award will enable researchers to develop novel ideas more rapidly, promote inter-disciplinary research and support the careers of early stage researchers.

“We are very pleased to have made this award, which is only possible through the generosity of the public who support us.”

In the West Midlands region alone, there are around 670,000 people living with the daily burden of heart and circulatory diseases – with these conditions claiming more than 15,300 lives per year.

For more information or to request interviews, email Lee Kettle from the BHF Media Team or call +44(0) 7741 908365.

About the British Heart Foundation
With donations from the public, the BHF funds ground-breaking research that will get us closer than ever to a world free from the fear of heart and circulatory diseases. A world where broken hearts are mended, where millions more people survive a heart attack, where the number of people dying from or disabled by a stroke is slashed in half. A world where people affected by heart and circulatory diseases get the support they need. And a world of cures and treatments we can’t even imagine today. We are backing the best ideas, the brightest minds and the biggest ambitions - because that’s how we’ll beat heartbreak forever.

About the University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries. 

About the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences (ICVS) 

The Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences is a world-leading centre for research into cardiovascular conditions including atrial fibrillation, heart failure and thrombosis/thrombo-inflammation, as well as vascular biology.

About Birmingham Health Partners
Founded in 2011, Birmingham Health Partners (BHP) drives the development of new diagnostics, drugs and devices by bringing together a renowned University and two leading NHS foundation trusts. Its unique ecosystem enables the full spectrum of translational medicine: encompassing health data; an established local health system; academic excellence; and an extensive clinical trials capability. Read more at