Twenty three medical academics and research scientists have been awarded a total of £725,000 at this year’s prestigious BMA Foundation for Medical Research Awards.
Through the foundation, the BMA has been supporting medical research since 1839 and is the oldest medical organisation in the world to award grants and prizes with the aim of encouraging and furthering medical research.
The awards fund clinical medical research and this year’s awards cover a diverse range of research areas including treating an ageing population, sexual health and schizophrenia.
This year’s prestigious awards ceremony was held last night [Tuesday 5 December] at BMA House in central London and was presented by BMA President, Professor Sir John Temple. Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE DL was the after-dinner speaker.
Commenting on the awards, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair and chair of the foundation trustees said:
“Medical research embodies a core value of all doctors to see continual improvements in health care and treatments for patients. Each year the BMA supports and funds important, innovative projects to advance medical research in areas that have a measurable impact on peoples’ health and wellbeing. The BMA Foundation’s work continues to be a success year on year.
“The UK is renowned as a centre of world-class medical research and what makes these awards special is their focus on supporting everyday doctors, many busy in full-time clinical practice or in the earliest stages of their careers. These vital grants are key enablers which could be the beginning of a more substantive piece of research, further funding or a burgeoning career in clinical research.”
Among this year’s award winners are nurse researchers Dr Jackie Buck from The University of East Anglia and Dr Jane Fleming from The University of Cambridge who were awarded one of the Dawkins & Strutt grants for research focussed on older people with more than one health condition - one of the biggest challenges facing today’s NHS .
Commenting on the award, Dr Jane Fleming said:
“The number of people aged 90 or older has almost tripled in three decades but we still have a lot to learn about how multiple and complex illnesses affect people in this age group.
“Our project is using a unique resource from a long-running study of older old age to investigate how commonly very old people are living with multiple conditions and what services or other support they need.”
Dr Jackie Buck, who will be analysing interviews with people in their late 90s to better understand their own perspectives and experiences of this, added:
“We’re thrilled that this important work is being recognised and supported through these awards. The grant will help our health and care services better plan for how best to treat an ageing population.”
Other award winners include Professor Oliver Howes from King’s College London who received the Margaret Temple grant for research into schizophrenia and early death caused by cardiac health problems.
Prof Howes said, on average, people with schizophrenia die 20 years prematurely, and heart disease is a major factor.
He said: “Antipsychotics have direct toxic effects on heart muscle which could impair the heart’s function but it’s still not known if schizophrenia is associated with heart problems in the absence of antipsychotic treatment.
“Using this award, we will use MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to undertake a study which could have major and immediate clinical implications for patients.”
HIV Scotland received the MEDFASH Prize in recognition of their work improving the quality of sexual healthcare in the UK.
George Valiotis, HIV Scotland Chief Executive Officer, said:
“We are delighted that our human rights work, and our role in making PrEP available on the NHS in Scotland has been recognised.
“Bringing people together to ensure the best outcomes for people living with and at risk of HIV is at the heart of what we do and we will continue to coordinate and support the wider activities to ensure that PrEP is made available efficiently and equitably to the diversity of people who need it.”
BMA Foundation research grants have had a significant impact on the professional development of grant winners, with 92 per cent of previous winning researchers saying that being awarded the grant contributed to their future research.
Notes to Editors
The British Medical Association (BMA) is the voice of doctors and medical students in the UK. It is an apolitical, professional organisation and independent trade union, representing doctors and medical students from all branches of medicine across the UK and supporting them to deliver the highest standards of care.
The BMA Foundation is an independent charity that awards funds to encourage and further medical research. Their mission is to support doctors and scientists in their research aims and help pioneer medical research.
- For a full list of winners, visit the BMA Foundation website. Photos of the awards are available on request.
- For more information, contact Daniel Sutherland, media officer, at 020 7383 6487 or email [email protected]