University of Birmingham establishes joint surgical research unit


The University of Birmingham in the UK has secured £7m funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to launch a joint research unit with the Universities of Edinburgh and Warwick to develop global surgical research.

To be based at the University of Birmingham, the new NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery will be led by the university’s Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences colorectal surgeon professor Dion Morton and the Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit director professor Peter Brocklehurst.

The unit is set to establish sustainable international research hubs in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) over four years, until March 2021.

Approximately five hubs are being initially planned across southern, central and western Africa, central and south America, and south Asia.

"The first clinical trial by the new unit will analyse methods designed to minimise wound infections after abdominal surgery at various international sites."

University of Birmingham professor Morton said: “The impact of the NIHR Global Health Research Unit will be greatly enhanced through collaboration with the Universities of Warwick and Edinburgh, who will provide expertise in research training and in improving surgical service delivery to train the future research leaders in our partner LMIC centres."

The universities have collaborated with the Royal College of Surgeons to form an alliance with local hospital networks, governmental health ministries, industry, and non-governmental organisations to drive translation of research findings to evidence-based patient care.

The research hubs will be led by LMIC surgeons and supported by UK researchers, who will develop and train regional surgical networks.

Expected to be commenced in October, the first clinical trial by the new unit will analyse methods designed to minimise wound infections after abdominal surgery at various international sites.


Image: UK universities establish new global surgical research unit. Photo: courtesy of the University of Birmingham.