NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West Midlands

The NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West Midlands is a five-year initiative (2019-2024) with a mission to create lasting and effective partnerships across health and social care organisations, and universities (Birmingham, Keele and Warwick) in order to improve care services across the West Midlands.

Our research is carried out across four substantive themes: Long-term conditions; Acute care interfaces; Integrated care in youth mental health; Maternity services, and four cross-cutting themes that underpin this research: Organisational sciences; Research methodology, rapid response and informatics; Public health; Social care.

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Given the scale of problems faced by health and social services our ARC West Midlands is oriented towards ‘big ticket’ topics – services where decisions have major consequences for human health in our area.

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Patients and Public

We are committed to involving patients, carers and all people who use health and social care services in our activities. We provide a number of opportunities for getting involved.

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Our Research

About Us: Core Team

Richard Lilford

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Prof Richard Lilford is the Director of ARC West Midlands, based at the University of Birmingham.

Anne-Marie Brennan

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Anne-Marie is Programme Manager for ARC WM, and is based at the University of Warwick.

Paul Bird

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Paul Bird is Head of Programme Delivery (Stakeholder Relations & Engagement) for ARC WM, and is based at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

General Queries

Our News Blog

Each month we publish a News Blog combining the latest ARC WM news and events with thought-provoking and enlightening blog posts from our Director, Theme leads and staff. 

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) funds, enables and delivers world-leading health and social care research that improves people’s health and wellbeing and promotes economic growth. The NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care.

NIHR’s mission is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. They achieve this by:

  • Funding high quality, timely research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care.
  • Investing in world-class expertise, facilities and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services.
  • Partnering with patients, service users, carers and communities, improving the relevance, quality and impact of our research.
  • Attracting, training and supporting the best researchers to tackle complex health and social care challenges.
  • Collaborating with other public funders, charities and industry to help shape a cohesive and globally competitive research system.
  • Funding applied global health research and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle income countries.

The NIHR infrastructure is detailed in this video:

NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local populations, and local health and care systems. There are 15 ARCs across England, part of a £135m investment by the NIHR to improve the health and care of patients and the public.

Each NIHR ARC is made up of local providers of NHS services, local providers of care services, NHS commissioners, local authorities, universities, private companies and charities. These collaborations work together to conduct high quality, generalisable, applied health and care research that addresses the specific health or care issues in their region.

NIHR ARCs also act to close the second translational gap and increase the rate at which research findings are implemented into practice.

The 15 ARCs work collaboratively to address national research priorities, with individual ARCs providing national leadership in their areas of expertise.

A national newsletter is released each month, showcasing news, opinions, events and opportunities across all 15 ARCs. An archive is available online, and you can subscribe.

Huge advances have been made in health care over the last century. More recently, it was discovered that many people do not receive treatments of proven value and that treatments are not always administered safely. Sometimes, even the basics, such as communication with patients/carers, are poor. ‘Service delivery research’ helps us understand why people do not receive safe and effective treatment and tests ways to support frontline staff in delivering the best care. This is the research we will do in our Centre.

We will make sure that changes made to services are informed by evidence; work with service providers and the public to design service changes; and evaluate changes by making observations in the service before, during and after the changes are made.

One major issue we will address is the coordination of care. People often receive care in different places: GP surgeries, their own homes, care homes, hospitals and community clinics. Patients and carers have described that care is not joined-up and people delivering care have told us that coordinating care is a challenge. We will look at ways care can be better integrated to provide improved outcomes and a better experience for patients. We understand that patients all have different circumstances and preferences, so we want to develop processes to enable people to make decisions about their care that are right for them.

Our mission is to create a culture where close collaboration between researchers, the services and the people who use the services becomes the rule, not the exception. We are committed to ensuring that in five years’ time the outcome will be better health and a service in which every pound of the public’s contribution goes on services that use the best evidence of what works. The results we obtain will be shared around the world so that people everywhere can benefit from what we learn.

Our work builds on research conducted by our predecessors, the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for West Midlands, and the CLAHRC Birmingham and Black Country pilot.

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