Unique military medical research study receives funding for ten years


Double leg amputee with prosthetic legs sits by tea set

The ADVANCE cohort study, a unique twenty-year study into the health of military veterans, has secured crucial funding for the next ten years.

The ADVANCE (Armed Services Trauma Rehabilitation Outcome) study has recently received a very substantial grant from the Headley Court Charity of £10 million. This was complemented by a special grant of £1 million from the Nuffield Trust for the Forces of the Crown, to mark the Trust’s 80th anniversary, and a five-year commitment from Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, of £250,000. This new funding will assure the future of the study for the next ten years and will build on the funding from the Ministry of Defence, LIBOR fines and Help for Heroes which enabled the setup of the study and the recruitment of the baseline cohort.

"I wanted to contribute towards ADVANCE and help research that will support long-term care outcomes for serving personnel and veterans" Jonathan Grave Study participant

The ADVANCE study investigates the long-term physical and psycho-social outcomes of battlefield casualties from the UK Armed Forces following deployment to Afghanistan between 2003 and 2014. This study, costing over £1 million per year to run, is a collaboration between the Academic Department of Military Rehabilitation at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Stanford Hall, Imperial College London and King’s College London, and is the first prospective cohort study in this area. Professor Paul Cullinan, of the National Heart and Lung Institute, is leading the team at Imperial. The study aims to follow up and support this group of UK service personnel – 600 severely injured servicemen and 600 uninjured servicemen who act as a comparison group – for a period of 20 years. The study is looking at a wide range of outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, mental health and social outcomes.

Lord Boyce, Chairman of the ADVANCE Study Charity commented: "We are extraordinarily fortunate to be the beneficiaries of the generous decisions of the trustees of the Headley Court Charity, Nuffield Trust for the Forces of the Crown and Blesma. Our thanks go to them on behalf of those who will benefit from the unique learning of the ADVANCE Study, and we shall look forward to demonstrating the impact their donations will enable for our wounded and their families".

‘ADVANCE study team and participants at Stanford Hall’
ADVANCE team and participants at Stanford Hall

Recruiting participants is one of the biggest tasks of the ADVANCE study team. As of the end of January 2020 the study is fewer than 100 participants away from meeting its target of 1,200 participants. Over the next few months the study team will be busy recruiting those last participants. It will be a big milestone to reach 1,200 participants and finish the baseline recruitment, and the subsequent follow-up visits will reveal the results that really will influence future care.

The participants will contribute towards world class research that will improve future combat casualty care. Participant Jonathan Grave said: "I have a genuine interest in health and research and really believe the study has good intentions. And more importantly, I wanted to contribute towards ADVANCE and help research that will support long-term care outcomes for serving personnel and veterans. It is vital for ADVANCE to continue researching the long-term health outcomes of battlefield casualties from 2003-2014. ADVANCE will benefit current and future serving personnel and veterans – it’s just what we need".

To find out more about the ADVANCE Study visit their website or follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


Dr Maija Maskuniitty

Dr Maija Maskuniitty
National Heart & Lung Institute

Click to expand or contract

Contact details

Email: aino-maija.maskuniitty08@imperial.ac.uk

Show all stories by this author