Research and innovation in our region

Wessex is home to a wide range of organisations supporting research and innovation within health and care.

This includes infrastructure funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), the research partner of the NHS, public health and social care, as well the research and innovation expertise offered by our founding partners

Combined, the strategic alliance of Wessex Health Partners and NIHR infrastructure form a significant part of the research and innovation, translation and adoption pathway, also referred to as the discover, develop, deploy ecosystem in Wessex.

Our state-of-the-art research facilities and world-leading centres make our region an excellent place to deliver research and develop innovations which benefit lives.

Research and innovation in our region

We create a culture for collaboration, harness local strengths and mobilise the region’s expertise to address local priorities, transform health and care services, and improve health outcomes for our population.

We work in partnership with local communities, recognising the important role of patient and public involvement in research. By partnering with people with lived experience, we improve the quality, relevance and impact of our research, and help address the health inequalities that exist within health and care. 

With our strong collaborative spirit, we strengthen our collective ability to tackle the greatest challenges facing our health and care system.

The NIHR in Wessex

Discover more about NIHR infrastructure in Wessex.

NIHR ARC Wessex conducts applied health research with its partners and others in the health and care sector, alongside patients and members of the public. Its applied research helps address the immediate issues facing the health and social care system.

NIHR CRN Wessex is one of 15 CRNs supporting health and social care research in England. It works collaboratively with its partner organisations to increase access to research for patients and the public, and provides funding, training and other support to ensure effective study delivery.

The new HDRC is expected to commence in January 2025, after a successful bid for NIHR funding. Hosted by Portsmouth City Council, it will bring together local government and community knowledge with research skills from the academic field, with the aim of improving the evidence base on which policy decisions are made in important areas that impact on health and health inequalities.

The new HDRC is expected to commence in January 2024, after a successful bid by Southampton City Council (SCC), the University of Southampton, Solent University and Southampton Voluntary Services. Hosted by SCC, it will bring together local government and community knowledge with research skills from the academic field, with the aim of improving the evidence base on which policy decisions are made in important areas that impact on health and health inequalities.

The NIHR Southampton BRC takes new discoveries, treatments and technologies into the clinic, using unique tools, facilities and world-changing expertise across five key research areas.

The NIHR Research Support Service (RSS) provides free and confidential support for researchers to apply for funding and develop and deliver clinical and applied health and care research. The RSS provides support at every stage, from pre-application through to post-award delivery. Amongst other things, the RSS offers one-to-one advice, opportunities to meet with groups of methodologists, mock interviews, pre-submission reviews and support for clinical trial development and delivery. Online workshops are held throughout the year to introduce early-stage researchers to the grant-writing process.

The RSS is delivered collaboratively through eight hubs, each a partnership of research groups and organisations. Researchers do not need to be based in the same region as the RSS hub; however, the hub located in Wessex is the one delivered by University of Southampton (in partnership with the Universities of Portsmouth and Oxford, Oxford Brookes and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust).

The RSS Hub Delivered by University of Southampton and Partners also houses a Specialist Centre for Public Health, which works nationally to support the development of research capacity and capability to enable practitioners, researchers and anyone working outside of the NHS to carry out high quality public health research. The specialist centre also offers training, support with governance and ethics and resource to support research in local authorities.

Southampton PCRC is a world-leading centre of excellence offering a supportive and friendly multidisciplinary research environment with methodological expertise across a range of research areas including diagnosis and prognosis, improving the use of medicines and data science.

Embedded at the heart of Southampton General Hospital, the NIHR Southampton CRF is where the latest developments first enter the clinic, both from its own laboratories and leading companies. It is one of 28 CRFs networked across the UK, giving access to sites, expertise and research infrastructure.

Southampton CTU is a UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) registered academic specialist trials unit with a specific remit to design, conduct, analyse and publish clinical trials. SCTU works in partnership with investigators to deliver high quality trials that will directly influence routine clinical practice. The Unit receives NIHR support through the South Central Research Support Service and Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, as well as core funding from Cancer Research UK, with further NIHR funding awarded to support the unit in developing and running NIHR trials.

Southampton ECMC is internationally recognised for its expertise in delivery of early phase cancer studies. The centre has a strong global reputation in the design and delivery of studies in lymphoid malignancies, urological tumours and immunotherapy.

A collaborative network of clinical trial facilities delivering research at scale and pace. The network consists of: 

  • Bournemouth Research Hub - based in a major general hospital, this hub recruits from one of the most elderly populations along the south coast, offering a unique demographic.
  • Portsmouth Research Hub - working out of a community centre, this hub offers later phase trials and is embedded in city life.
  • Southampton Research Hub - based in the Royal South Hants community hospital, this hub caters for trials from phase one onwards.
  • Weymouth Research Hub - based in an NHS vaccination centre in an area of coastal deprivation, this hub is finding new ways to engage with the population.
  • Wessex Research Hubs on the move - two research buses offering mobile clinics across Wessex, vastly increasing reach and flexibility. 

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