Edinburgh University researchers awarded over £13.5M by the National Institute for Health Research

Two large research consortia at the University of Edinburgh have been awarded £13.5M to set up Global Health Research Units over the next four years.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) led the open competition for funding into research into worldwide disease and infection. 

33 research units and groups will now receive over £120 million funding for global health research.  The Tacking Infection to Benefit Africa Unit will be led by Professor Mark Woolhouse, and the Global Respsiratory Health Unit, will be led by Professor Aziz Shiekh.

TIBA - Tackling Infection to Benefit Africa

The TIBA Unit (TIBA means "to cure an infection" in Swahili) brings together colleagues from across the University of Edinburgh working in partnership with researchers from nine African countries.

TIBA has 4 specific aims:

  • Improve the diagnosis and surveillance of infectious diseases in resource-poor settings
  • Improve the deployment of existing drug treatments and enhance local capacity to develop new ones
  • Improve the deployment of existing vaccines and enhance local capacity to develop new ones
  • Improve the management of both endemic and emerging infection

The team will focus on a set of largely neglected diseases – schistosomiasis, malaria, respiratory infections, trypanosomiasis and lymphatic filariasis – all important in their own right but also providing
opportunities to explore the ways in which health systems operate and respond to changes in policy,
new scientific knowledge, or technological innovation. They also will be paying close attention to interactions with other infections (e.g. HIV, TB), co-morbidities and NCDs, especially in the contexts of diagnosis and
clinical management.

TIBA will take on a diverse set of research projects in order to explore multiple aspects of the
different ways in which African health systems have to deal with different infectious diseases. The
partner countries represent a wide range of health system structures and resources (with per capita
health care expenditure varying more than ten-fold). The research will generate new knowledge and
make comparative analyses, and identify examples of good practice to improve health for all.

For more information about the TIBA Unit, visit their website.

RESPIRE - Global Respiratory Health Unit

The NIHR Global Respiratory Health Unit aims to reduce the impact of and the number of deaths caused by respiratory diseases affecting both the upper and lower airways. They will study respiratory conditions, which can be spread from one person to another as well as those which cannot be spread.

The Unit will run two research programmes. The first programme will look at infections which start suddenly, such as pneumonia and bronchitis. The second programme will look at long-term conditions which develop and worsen over time. This latter group includes diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), lung cancer, and the long-term complications of the HIV virus and tuberculosis (TB).

RESPIRE will initially base its work in four countries in South Asia - namely Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and Pakistan. Their first job will be to support experts in these countries to agree and prioritise which respiratory questions to focus our collective efforts on.  They will then look for up-to-date scientific evidence to find ways to reduce deaths and illness caused by these respiratory conditions.

More information about RESPIRE.

Details about other Global Health Research Units funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

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