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Translational Research Partnerships

The NIHR Translational Research Partnerships (TRPs) bring together expert investigators from leading academic and NHS centres to support collaboration with the life sciences industry in early and exploratory development of new drugs and other interventions.

Translational Research Partnerships

HSC R&D Division provides funding to support one of the NIHR Translational Research Partnerships (TRPs) which has investigators in Northern Ireland (NI)

TRPs combine the finest minds and capabilities in the UK’s leading academic and NHS centres into a single structure. They create a unique life sciences industry resource to drive collaborative translational research in defined therapeutic areas, address unmet medical needs and take on the challenges of an evolving drug, device and diagnostic development model.

There are currently two TRPs in operation:

  • Inflammatory Respiratory Disease –including, asthma allergy, COPD, respiratory infection
  • Joint and Related Inflammatory Diseases – including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, synovitis

NI investigators are members of the UK Inflammatory Respiratory Disease Translational Research Partnership (TRP), which includes clinical trials in asthma, allergy, COPD, respiratory infection.

The TRP is a partnership between Queen’s University Belfast, Centre for Infection and Immunity (CII) and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust which facilitates partnership working with individual biopharmaceutical, device and diagnostic companies to drive research in the early and exploratory development of new respiratory drugs and other interventions.

The goal is to translate advances in laboratory and experimental research into improved lung health for individuals and the population as a whole. Each TRP comprises nine centres of research excellence which have been selected to work together based on their proven ability to deliver in experimental medicine and translational research.

The Belfast Centre, supported in part by HSC R&D Division, is the only TRP group outside of mainland UK, but has consistently performed at a high level, providing significant opportunities to work with pharmaceutical companies and for HSC service users to participate in clinical trials.  As members of a TRP, each centre has committed to work with industry through the NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI), their consistent, single point of contact. In the Belfast Centre, expertise in technology is available for clinical trial and biomarker assessment which are major enabling technologies for early phase clinical trials. These are undertaken with a local contact research organisation, Celerion, who provide the context for healthy volunteer and early patient studies in collaboration with CII investigators, who contribute academic leadership and in their GCP lab.

This is supported in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust through the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network (funded by HSC R&D Division), with a clinical trial group with 7 WTE study co-ordinators. This allows the efficient effective delivery of clinical trials bridging from phase II and phase III and has established Belfast as one of the most active and dynamic clinical trial sites in cystic fibrosis.  In part, the TRP activity has been instrumental in the recent success of this team in securing a major €50m EU award under the Innovative Medicines Initiative.

Prof Stuart Elborn in the Centre of Infection and Immunity leads the Belfast Centre, part of the Inflammatory Respiratory Disease TRP.

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