Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre Sentinel Network, University of Oxford: The Network covers >500 general practices and >5 million people across the UK and provides UKHSA with high quality real-time surveillance data on influenza and other respiratory infections. We have close pre-existing links, collaborative funding and ongoing research with this network. Linking data from the GP surveillance network with national Hospital Episode Statistics and NIHR-HIC data will answer key research questions including risk-factors for poor outcomes and hospitalisation in elderly influenza patients.

HPRU engages with UKHSA frontline staff by:

  •  inclusion on our ISAB
  •  invitations to our quarterly and annual symposia
  •  providing support to attend courses that build confidence in research
  •  writing joint applications for additional funding
  •  funding for travel to workshops and events
  •  involvement in knowledge mobilisation and PPIE activities

NHS: Our NHS partners provide insight into evolving unmet clinical needs, feeding into our strategy, and provide the patient populations (and data) for our patient-centred research. As well as Imperial NHS Trust, our clinical expert team (>10-year-long collaborations) includes Clinical Leads for Respiratory Infection and TB based at TB hotspots within and outside London; Clinical Leads for the UK’s largest NTM service (Royal Brompton) and a cohort of hospitalised elderly with influenza (Guys and St Thomas’): Onn Min Kon (Imperial), Michael Loebinger (Royal Brompton Hospital), Giovanni Satta (Imperial), Martin Dedicoat: (University Hospitals Birmingham), Pranab Halder: (University Hospitals Leicester) and Heinke Kunst (QMUL).

Other HPRUs at Imperial: Imperial has 5 shortlisted NIHR-HPRU applications and has committed 3 funded PhD students to each Unit. These students will be co-supervised between the successful Units, creating collaborative projects and further synergies where research areas intersect. We will share the expertise of our Knowledge Mobilisation Lead. We will further develop our best practice PPIE through collaboration between the research and PPIE leads of existing HPRUs.

Other HPRUs: We will work closely with other HPRUs nationwide, specifically to benefit from their respective expertise and share mutual resource to efficiently deliver our strategy and build an HPRU community. Our closest collaborating HPRUs will be:

  •  Behavioural Science and Evaluation
  •  Genomics and Enabling Data
  •  Modelling and Health Economics
  •  Healthcare-associated infections and Anti-microbial resistance

NIHR Infrastructure: As well as continued close collaboration with the Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), we have forged new collaboration with the NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative (HIC) to use routinely- collected data across 21 NHS Trusts covering a population of 20 million. Through the HIC Infectious Diseases Theme, led by our collaborators Graham Cooke (IC) and Jonathan Edgeworth (KCL), we will link large datasets to address our pressing public health research themes.

University of Leicester: Face Mask Sampling (FMS) has been developed in Leicester (Lead: Professor Michael Barer) to enable detection of exhaled pathogens.  The procedure has been shown to be an acceptable procedure and effective in detecting Mycobacterium tuberculosis and has recently been adapted to detect respiratory viruses, in particular SARS-CoV-2 in our INSTINCT and ATACCC studies.

Bromley-by-Bow Centre and Doctors of the World UK: This third-sector non-governmental organisation links us to the vulnerable communities we seek to serve. Both organisations are our community PPIE partners.  

Simon de Lusignan (University of Oxford) Professor of Primary Care and Clinical Informatics, and Director of RCGP Research and Surveillance Centre. Research: disease surveillance, quality improvement and measuring health outcomes from routine data.

Jonathan Edgeworth (Kings College London) Clinical Microbiologist and Medical Director, Department of Infectious Diseases, Guy's and St Thomas'. Leading cohort to recruit elderly patients with influenza.

Elizabeth Miller (Imperial College) Consultant Epidemiologist and former Head of UKHSAs Immunisation and Countermeasures Division. Led the National Vaccine Evaluation Consortium for >20-years, including trials of LAIV.

The initiative comprising topic-specific and cross-cutting HPRUs is envisaged as a highly collaborative matrix, analogous to UKHSAs multi-functional, single-agency model.