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City academics receive major National Institute of Health Research grants

Research projects involving, or led by, academics from City's School of Health Sciences, receive nearly £1.5 million in research funding from the National Institute of Health Research.
by Ben

Monitoring Vision Function

Academics from City University London's Division of Optometry and Visual Science are part of a team that have been awarded nearly £750,000 by The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to aid the development of a new platform for monitoring vision function.

The award was made from the NIHR's highly-competitive Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme, which aims to support and advance the research and development of innovative healthcare technologies and their translation into the clinical environment for the benefit of patients.

Professor David Crabb and Dr Haogang Zhu will work with principal investigators at Moorfields Eye Hospital, and investigators at University College London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Ulster.

Professor Crabb commented: "We are delighted to have been awarded the i4i grant, which will allow us to take forward work on patient tests we have been investigating for more than a decade.

I am very grateful for the support that my lab has received from the School of Health Sciences in the last year or so, and I hope we can build on this success."

Building on success

This is the second large award that one of Professor Crabb's projects has received in the last few months, following the award of a £327,000 Health Technology Assessment grant from the NIHR for new imaging technology to rapidly detect disease progression in glaucoma.

Around £200K from the awards will come directly to City to support Professor Crabb's research laboratory.

Births and their outcome

A collaborative group of researchers, based in City University London's Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research has received an award of £416,846 from the National Institute of Health Research for a project to analyse the daily, weekly and yearly cycles of births and their outcomes in England and Wales.

Alison Macfarlane, Professor of Perinatal Health and Nirupa Dattani, Senior Research Fellow will be working on the analysis with Mario Cortina-Borja from University College London and Rod Gibson from BirthchoiceUK. Miranda Dodwell from City and BirthchoiceUK and Mary Newburn from NCT will be working on the public engagement aspects of the project, feeding back and discussing the results with representatives of maternity service users.

The project aims to inform decision making by investigating for England and Wales whether rates of death or severe problems in babies or their mothers are affected by births being at different times of day, days of the week or days of the year. Previous research has shown that the numbers of babies born each day and the risk of dying varied throughout the week, with lower numbers of births at the weekends. There were also variations by season of the year but these analyses did not take account of the time of day when babies were born.

The new project will use linked data about nearly five million births, combining data recorded when the parents register their baby's birth and data recorded when the baby is given an NHS number with data about NHS care, both at birth or if the baby or mother receives further hospital care. It will take account of factors which may affect timing, such as whether labour was induced or the delivery was by planned caesarean. The project will also analyse the impact of timing of births to help predict when maternity services may be operating at or beyond capacity.

Professor Macfarlane hopes that this research will provide better information to help plan midwifery and obstetric staffing in NHS maternity units:

"This information can be used by the NHS in planning both levels of staffing in terms of midwives and obstetricians and in detailed rostering, with the purpose of matching the numbers of women in labour and giving birth, with the numbers of midwives available and the availability of obstetric support should complications arise. The aim will be to use the information to improve the quality of maternity care for women, not only safety and effectiveness but also women's experience of care."

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