Funding Boost for Vital Research at Alder Hey

Funding Boost for Vital Research at Alder Hey

Funding Boost for Vital Research at Alder Hey

9th Mar 2022

Alder Hey and Liverpool University Hospital Foundation Trust (LUFT) have been awarded a combined total of £7.3m of research funding by the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research).

Alder Hey has received £2m of the funding, which is for the next five years, for our Clinical Research Facility (CRF), extending its delivery of early-stage clinical research. 

This is a massive investment to the city of Liverpool and will help create better and safer medicines for children, young people and the adults of the city and beyond.

Alder Hey’s CRF is one of 28 research facilities across the UK funded by the NIHR, and one of two exclusively for paediatric patients. The state-of-the-art child-centred facility provides the safest environment for early translational and experimental medicine research, from studies testing new treatments in patients for the very first time (first-in-child trials) through to early safety and efficacy trials (Phase IIa trials). It is staffed by an expert team including research nurses, doctors, clinical trial pharmacists, research physiotherapists, research play specialists and clinical trial coordinators.

On making the award, an independent selection committee considered the ‘quality and breadth’ of Alder Hey’s early translational and experimental medicine research studies; the ‘bespoke, well designed and well equipped’ facilities, the leadership structure and the expertise of the staff working within the CRF.

Professor John Chester, Director of Research and Innovation at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said:

“This major extension of our funding will enable us to build upon the NIHR Alder Hey CRF’s 10 years of groundbreaking early phase research studies in collaboration with our partners. We remain extremely proud of the international success of the CRF at Alder Hey, the first of its kind in the UK. The support of the NIHR has been instrumental in helping us to deliver hundreds of clinical studies over the last decade and position Alder Hey as a leader in children’s health research. Together we are creating a healthier future for children and young people across the world.” 

As part of its wider vision of creating a dedicated children’s healthcare campus, Alder Hey is becoming a leading international player in paediatric research. Over 9000 children and young people were recruited to research studies in 2021/22, maintaining Alder Hey’s position as the highest recruiting centre to studies in children and young people. Based right in the heart of the renowned children’s Hospital, the facility is close to Alder Hey’s dedicated research, innovation and education facility. Home to researchers, academics and industry partners, the Institute in the Park supports vital collaboration for creating better healthcare outcomes for children and young people.

More than a decade of delivering innovative research 

Since its inception in 2011 the Alder Hey CRF has established itself as an internationally important facility for experimental medicine and early phase research for children and young people. Over the past decade, it has supported the delivery of hundreds of studies while recruiting 10 first global, four first European and five first UK recruits to clinical trials.

Several treatments involved in these studies have gone on to be introduced into care for patients. For example, the NIHR Alder Hey CRF provided the leadership, expertise, and environment for two of the first three international trials into a new drug for hard-to-treat forms of epilepsy. Epidyolex, a high quality and pharmaceutical grade medical cannabinoid, is now licensed in the US and UK for the treatment of Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.  

Alder Hey’s CRF also had a significant impact on a range of Covid-19 related research in both adults and children. The facility delivered Urgent Public Health research to over 500 children and young people while also taking on adult research to ensure capacity at other centres, including supporting the groundbreaking Oxford Covid-19 vaccine study.

The funding from the NIHR will enable this vital work to continue until 2027, with the CRF playing a key role in realising the ambition in the vision for the future of UK clinical research delivery to bolster the delivery of innovative trials across all phases, all treatment types and all conditions. 

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “NIHR’s CRFs scheme has been a key force in translational research across England, helping to position the nation as internationally competitive in early stage clinical research. 

“This new funding will allow the CRFs to continue to drive forward innovation in experimental medicine and support translation of exciting discoveries into new treatments for patients.”  

Minister for Innovation, Lord Kamall, said: “Clinical research has been vital in our fight against COVID-19 and in saving thousands of lives – whether through the rapid creation of vaccines or the identification of life-saving treatments like dexamethasone.  

“Funding more CRFs across the country means we can continue to build on this innovation to transform our health service and ensure the NHS is able to deliver world-class care.  

“As we build back better from the pandemic, I am committed to ensuring the UK remains a world leader in diverse, ground-breaking research.”

For more information about Alder Hey please contact: media@alderhey.nhs.uk 

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