Multimorbidity is associated with a reduction in quality of life, increased use of health services and reduced life expectancy. As the number of conditions an individual has increases, so does the likelihood of increased healthcare costs. Multimorbidity has suffered scientifically from being seen as a random assortment of diseases, making it difficult to address. However, with new understanding of the impact of various factors (including biological, social, behavioural, environmental and others), multimorbidity can be seen as series of non-random clusters of disease.
This will require new multi-disciplinary approaches to mapping and tackling multimorbidity, at scale.
To this end there is:
A Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) research call, jointly funded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will bring together multi-disciplinary collaborations with a range of scientific, methodological, and clinical knowledge and skills to build manageable, focussed “Multimorbidity Research Collaboratives”. These collaboratives will be expected to have strong patient involvement, as benefits the remit of the project, and add significant understanding to a broad range of topics including, for example:
- Identification of new disease clusters
- Multimorbidity over different stages across the life-course taking a comprehensive multi- disciplinary approach
- Discovery, validation and targeting of underlying mechanistic and pathobiological pathways
- Recognising the potential to identify new patterns of multimorbidity and contributing factors, and the more advanced nature of research on more established multimorbidity clusters, the call is designed in two streams.
For those groups that need time to consolidate existing data or collaborations and/or obtain preliminary data there is an option to apply for a rapid and modest “Consolidator grant”. These grants will serve as a test bed, bringing new disciplines together and provide proof-of-concept data, enabling the best groupings and ideas to mature to a second “Research Collaborative award” stage.
For those other groups that have already developed multi-disciplinary networks and supporting data, there will be the option to move straight to the “Research Collaborative award” stage.
Up to £1.5 million is available for Consolidator grants. These will be funded for the fixed duration of 6 months; the award amount will be up to £100,000 (RC contribution). All awards are expected to be collaborative and multi-disciplinary in nature. Research teams may build on existing relationships or develop a new collaboration between different researchers and/or resources, for instance, grouping of investigators with single disease expertise branching out to extend their work through newly established links with scientists working on different diseases, methodologists, statisticians, researchers from other disciplines, carers and patient groups.
Research Collaborative award:
Research groups with more mature collaboration links; ownership or existing access to the relevant datasets; and sufficient evidence, underpinned by strong preliminary data, of their ability to perform multimorbidity research at scale, can apply for the Wave 1 Research Collaborative awards, bypassing Consolidator stage. These awards will provide substantial investment to support ambitious studies performed by combinations of partners. Research Collaboratives may include, where appropriate, industry partners, in which case they would require to submit their application as a MRC Industry Collaboration Agreement (please read about the MRC Policy on academic-industry collaborations here). This competition seeks to support a balanced research portfolio of several Research Collaboratives for 2-4 years (£3-5m each).