NIHR anniversary report highlights Leicester research

Two projects at the University of Leicester have been highlighted as shining examples of the benefits of research commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research since its creation in 2006.

To mark its tenth anniversary, the Department of Health commissioned the Policy Research in Science and Medicine unit to consider the question: 'What are the ways in which NIHR has benefited the health research landscape in the past ten years?' Their report identifies and celebrates 100 examples of positive change resulting from NIHR's support of research.

Among them is Dr Damian Roland, an Honorary Senior Lecturer in our Department of Health Sciences SAPHHIRE Group, who is a case study for the NIHR’s Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs). Dr Damian Roland started an ACF in 2009 and was subsequently awarded with an NIHR-funded Doctoral Research Fellowship. In his PhD, he examined and developed a new framework to evaluate medical education interventions.

Dr Roland’s research centres on illness identification in children and young people, educational evaluation and using social media as a means of knowledge translation. He co-developed the Paediatric Observation Priority Score (POPS), which helps practitioners to confidently recognise when children are sick or when they are ready for safe discharge. Dr Roland now works across Leicester’s Hospitals as well as the University.

Also highlighted is the work of Diabetes Research Centre, led by Professor Kamlesh Khunti and Professor Melanie Davies from the University of Leicester and Leicester’s Hospitals.

The Centre has developed and trialled risk assessment tools for the prevention of diabetes with support from the NIHR’s Senior Investigator funding and Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) programmes. The tools were designed to meet the needs of the East Midlands, which has a high concentration of ethnic minority groups among whom diabetes is particularly prevalent.

Since their development, these tools have been taken up in clinical settings nationally and Diabetes UK has been particularly active in promoting the use of the Leicester Self-Assessment tool for early detection and prevention.