Maternal mortality remains unacceptably high. We are determined to end preventable death and illness in mothers affected by postpartum haemorrhage, miscarriage, and other pregnancy-related conditions around the globe. The University of Birmingham jointly leads Europe’s largest miscarriage research centre – the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research – and we also have the honour of holding the designation for the WHO Collaborating Centre for Global Women’s Health.
We are leading the way by championing the need to test safe and effective medicine use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Our findings are making a difference, with a major international trial addressing bleeding after birth radically improving women’s chances of surviving childbirth around the globe. The breadth of our research expertise extends to other women’s health priorities, including ovarian cancer, where our research has been instrumental in changing National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidelines regarding surgical approach.
We know that the majority of lifelong mental health disorders begin before the age of 24, and early intervention makes a huge difference to the outcomes for young people. Our researchers in the Institute for Mental Health are working to understand the causes of poor mental health, prevent problems from developing, and develop new treatments and services for people who need it.
We are leading a major part of the Government’s £42m Mental Health Mission, established in 2023 to make the UK a leading location to develop and trial radical new treatments and technologies. This five-year funding programme will see us working closely with regional NHS partners and people with lived experience, to understand the best way to test new treatments for depression and psychosis and for mental health problems in children and young people.
Inflammation contributes to a wide range of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Through partnerships with the National Institute of Health and Social Care Research and the NHS, as well as our award-winning Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, we are gaining a better understanding of the short- and long-term effects that inflammation have on the body. Our researchers are developing recommendations for preventative measures as well as treatments for inflammation-related diseases.
We are proud to be leading the Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), focused on inflammatory disease research. Collaborative research from the Birmingham BRC has already seen nearly 1,000 clinical trials initiated and has informed UK clinical guidelines.
Cancer biology and therapeutics
In 2020 there were an estimated 18.1 million new cases of cancer worldwide. This figure is expected to grow to 28 million new cases of cancer each year by 2040. It is vital that we understand the biology behind how cancer develops and progresses in order to prevent, diagnose and treat it.
Our leading expertise in understanding DNA repair mechanisms provide a very early step in building the knowledge that can help to prevent the onset of cancer. We are furthering understanding in how best to stratify cancer patients based on their genetics, allowing individuals to receive the treatments most likely to be effective for them. Our outstanding Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for high-quality, practice-changing cancer clinical trials and leads the way in paediatric clinical trials.