Birmingham is one of three institutions to be awarded £7 million in collaborative research funds by The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to set up a joint research unit focused on developing global surgical research.

The newly-established NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery will be based at the University of Birmingham.  It will be co-directed by Professor Dion Morton, a leading colorectal surgeon from the Birmingham’s Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, and Professor Peter Brocklehurst, Director of the Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit.

Research hubs

The Unit is establishing sustainable international research hubs across a range of low and middle income countries (LMICs). Initially, up to five will be set up across southern, central and western Africa, Central America, and south Asia.

Professor Morton said: “Surgical care is one of the major unmet needs in global health care today. The University of Birmingham has internationally-leading surgical research expertise that, through this NIHR Global Health Research Unit, can now be shared across continents.’

Working with the Royal College of Surgeons, relationships are being developed with local hospital networks, governmental ministries of health, industry and non-governmental organisations to set up pathways to rapidly translate research findings into evidence-based patient care.

The hub leads will be LMIC surgeons with an interest in research. Researchers will work with these front line clinicians to develop regional surgical networks that are able to deliver clinical research relevant to their local populations.

Professor Brocklehurst said: “Our first actions include initiating our first clinical trial, which will focus on preventing wound infections following abdominal surgery.”