New funding call to support research into multiple diseases

The Academy applauds the launch of a new funding call designed to support research to better understand the way multiple diseases cluster in patients in the UK, jointly issued by the Medical Research Council (MRC; now part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Awards of up to £600,000 to study the growing issue of multimorbidity - a scenario where patients live with two or more long term health conditions - were announced last week. Researchers have until 9 October 2018 to apply, and can do so on the MRC website: https://mrc.ukri.org/funding/browse/multimorbidity/multimorbidity-in-the-uk-population-understanding-disease-clustering/

This joint MRC and NIHR funding call aims to fill the knowledge gap around multimorbidity, and was informed by a two-day multimorbidity workshop held on 20 and 21 June 2018 and organised by the Academy, together with the MRC, NIHR and Wellcome.

The workshop brought together researchers, funders and policy makers to explore how best to deal with the increasing health challenge of multimorbidity as set out in the Academy’s recent international policy report. Attendees agreed that while there is some understanding about disease associations, this is limited and there remain many gaps which need to be addressed to ultimately improve the care and outcome of patients with multimorbidity.

In particular, it is still poorly understand what conditions most commonly occur together, and whether different disease clusters are seen in different sub-populations - for example those based on sex, ethnicity, and income and lifestyle factors. In many cases, it is also unclear what the underlying causes of disease clustering are.

Professor Stephen MacMahon FMedSci led the Academy’s work on multimorbidity, and has said:

“We are delighted that this funding initiative aims to fill these gaps by encouraging cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional research teams to systematically identify common disease clusters and their social patterning, and to also identify the underlying causal pathways.

“Improving our understanding of these aspects of multimorbidity will help ensure that patients most at-risk of experiencing multiple conditions can be better identified, and in time be better supported by interventions designed to prevent or manage the issue.”  

More information about the call and details about how to apply can be found at:

https://mrc.ukri.org/funding/browse/multimorbidity/multimorbidity-in-the-uk-population-understanding-disease-clustering/

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