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Celebrating research together: UHB Research Showcase 2023

BRC team in front of stand

On Friday 19 May, in celebration of International Clinical Trials Day, the NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) joined other research infrastructures and delivery teams from University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Foundation Trust for the annual Research Showcase.

This event, showcasing the latest in research, development and innovation from across the Trust, was an opportunity for patients and members of the public to find out how researchers across the region’s hospitals are working to better understand and transform healthcare for everyone in our diverse communities.

This was the first Research Showcase organised after the COVID-19 pandemic and the first one the BRC attended since the renewed NIHR funding – we were excited for many of our new research themes to present our ambitions for the next five years, as well as highlighting our work around patient and public involvement and increasing diversity and representation in clinical research.

With our team spread across the Queen Elizabeth and Heartlands Hospitals, we engaged with patients, members of the public, colleagues, and clinical staff with an interest in learning about the research we do and about ways to get involved. And what’s more, our stand at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital won joint second place in the Best Stand competition!

Victoria Day, head of the NIHR Birmingham BRC, holding the joint 2nd place medal together with Farfia Capper, Clinical Deputy Manager of the NIHR Clinical Research Facility

Attendees included Prof Phil Newsome, our BRC Director, and Byron Batten, Head of Inclusion-Improvement, Communications and Engagement at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Phil Newsome, Director of the NIHR Birmingham BRC, said: “What I enjoyed the most about the Research Showcase was witnessing the interaction between the teams that deliver research, and the patients and the public walking through. It was great to see such a positive spirit of collaboration and enthusiasm about how we can collectively make a difference.”

Mr Byron Batten said: “Research isn’t spoken about so often in a public setting. Events like the Research Showcase are significant because they bring together a range of different people – patients, staff, researchers, doctors, and nurses – in the same space, and allow all types of people to understand our work. The Showcase enabled opportunities for connection, for different stakeholders to get involved, and it made us think much more collectively and diversely about ways to engage with communities.”

We were delighted to have several members of our Patient and Public Involvement Groups joining us at our stands, to tell their own experience of research first hand and connect with people with understanding, encouragement and enthusiasm.

Public contributors of the NIHR Birmingham BRC at the stand at Heartlands Hospital

Diederike, public contributor and member of the BRC Muscle Health PPI group, commented: “The NHS is not all about coming to hospital or going to your GP: there’s research being done in the background, and that’s how we discover new conditions, new treatments, new solutions to problems. Events like the Research Showcase are a powerful way to tell the general public that research is happening, and that they can get involved – it’s not only the scientists, the researchers, the nurses and doctors. Anybody can get involved in research, get their voice heard, and shape the researchers’ work to meet the needs of the people it ultimately benefits.”

Public contributors of the NIHR Birmingham BRC standing in front of the stand at Queen Elizabeth Hospital with Project Manager

Richard Allen, public contributor and member of the BRC Liver & GI PPI group, said: “The Research Showcase is important because it’s a unique chance to talk to the public. Every person that comes into hospital for treatment has got a story to tell, and this gives them an opportunity to use their voice to be part of something, give back some of the goodness that the Hospital has given them, and hopefully support others along their journey.”

Keen to find out more about ways to get involved in our research? Visit our dedicated page or contact our PPIE Manager Laura Chapman at BRCPPIE@uhb.nhs.uk.