About us

The NIHR funds, enables and delivers world-leading health and social care research that improves people’s health and wellbeing and promotes economic growth.

NIHR Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) are collaborations between NHS organisations and universities. They bring together academics and clinicians to translate scientific discoveries into potential new treatments, diagnostics and technologies.

The NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) is part of the NIHR and hosted by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHBFT) in partnership with the University of Birmingham (UoB).

Birmingham university's Old Joe clock tower seen through lab flasks

We are joined by our new partners in Keele and Aston Universities and additional NHS Trusts; Birmingham Women’s and Children’s (BWCFT), Birmingham Community Healthcare (BCHC) and Sandwell and West Birmingham (SWBH) – giving us greater reach, diversity and opportunities for co-creation and impact across our regional population. Additionally, we have strong existing links around inflammation with the University of Oxford and its BRC, with the £7 million Arthritis Therapy Acceleration Programme (A-TAP) uniting Birmingham and Oxford with seven NHS partners to support and develop novel treatments based on underlying causes of inflammatory disease.

We also benefit from Birmingham Health Partners (BHP); a strategic alliance of many BRC partners including UoB, UHBFT, BWCFT, SWBH and West Midlands Academic Health Science Network, which is dedicated to jointly accelerating and implementing healthcare innovations. The NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) hosts one of the NIHR BioResource centres across England. As well as hosting the NIHR Birmingham BioResource Centre, we are also the lead organisation for the NIHR Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) BioResource. The NIHR BioResource recruits and maintains a resource of data and samples donated by over 200,000 people. Researchers can use this resource to call up potential participants for studies to understand the links between genes, the environment, health and disease. Find out more about the NIHR BioResource.

Birmingham has been in receipt of funding for experimental medicine since 2008, beginning with its NIHR Birmingham Liver Biomedical Research Unit. This was followed by the region’s first Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) which began in 2017 and ended in November 2022. During this time we have built a centre of excellence that allows us to take scientific discoveries through into new treatments for patients with inflammatory conditions. Our latest funding award of over £30.7 million redesignated the NIHR Birmingham BRC from December 2022, enabling us to build on our previous successes in a larger regional BRC with an expanded research programme; delivering new partnerships with synergistic strengths and new opportunities to accelerate research productivity, enhance patient involvement and increase regional economic activity, which also addresses global priorities.

Our vision

The vision of the Birmingham BRC in Inflammation is to be a world-leading centre for translational research into inflammatory diseases. Inflammation is a critical pathogenic driver in common chronic multi-morbidities, including cancer, representing a huge challenge for patients and the healthcare system, with a prevalence of 5-7%. More than 50% of deaths are attributable to long-term inflammation-related diseases, rendering them a major NHS and global priority. Our region covers 5.7 million people, 10% of the UK population. Our regional population is socially diverse, multi-ethnic with significant health inequalities and life expectancy lower than the UK average. The ethnic and socio-economic diversity of our population ensures the global relevance of our research.

We will test and deliver new treatments for these diseases, most of which have no cure nor treatments to improve quality of life, by addressing critical scientific and clinical challenges via our access to populations and patient cohorts.

By addressing national and global health needs the BRC will offer;

  1. new hope for patients,
  2. new innovative approaches to therapy;
  3. new ways for health providers to embrace transformative innovation in a cost-sensitive manner;
  4. new opportunities to drive regional and national economic activity in the life sciences.

Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement in research

We work with terrific patients and members of the public to make our research world-class. These are just some of the people in our groups. Find out more about how we involve patients, carers and the public in our research.

Four BRC public contributors

“Having received excellent treatment from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and the Upper GI team after an emergency & follow up procedure, I wanted to be able to give back to the NHS in some way. I feel that volunteering with the PPI group is a great way to share experiences & ideas with people, and to contribute to future research in the particular team.” – AK

“As an ex-nurse with experience in research and also a patient with chronic liver disease, I am keen to help make a difference for patients both now and in the future. It doesn’t matter what background people come from: we all have experiences in life that we can share and will help to shape research to help patients, their families and carers of the future.” – AP