This platform aims to join-up and share helpful resources relevant to research on the global health challenge of multimorbidity. It is intended for anyone interested in contributing to a much needed step-change in the understanding of the trends, clusters, mechanisms and causes, burden, prevention, and management of multiple long-term conditions through research.
Multimorbidity: helpful resources
This central platform and resource repository is maintained by the Academy of Medical Sciences, in conjunction with the Medical Research Council (MRC), National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and Wellcome.
In wealthy countries, multimorbidity is the norm not the exception. It is also increasingly a problem in low- and middle-income countries where ‘clusters’ of chronic conditions may more frequently involve long-term infectious diseases. Multimorbidity is a true global health challenge, requiring research across all settings and communities to better understand the problem.
The Academy’s international working group on 'Multimorbidity: a priority for global health research' , developed a definition, standardised reporting system and key research priorities for multimorbidity. Later, the Academy, MRC, NIHR, and Wellcome hosted a joint workshop in June 2018 on 'Advancing research to tackle multimorbidity: the UK and LMIC perspectives'.
Following this work, the Academy, the MRC, NIHR, and Wellcome have agreed to come together to coordinate a 'multimorbidity funders group'. Working alongside numerous other charities, this group will aim to overcome the structural and cultural barriers facing multimorbidity research, and support the research needed to better understand the trends, clusters, mechanisms and causes, burden, prevention and management of multimorbidity.
To realise this ambition, efforts are needed to bring together researchers, clinicians, health professionals across disciplines, patients, healthcare providers and non-government organisations (NGOs).
The multimorbidity funders group has published a 'cross-funder multimorbidity research framework', which aims to help co-ordinate the efforts and initiatives in which the various funders are engaged, and to highlight opportunities for funders to work together. It embraces the multidisciplinary nature of the problem and recognises that working in partnership will help to overcome common barriers.
By acting as a platform to share multimorbidity funding calls, initiatives, and events, we hope that this page can also help to foster such a community, and encourage the cross-disciplinary collaborations that are vital to tackling multimorbidity.
We are grateful to the following organisations for their commitment to the ‘multimorbidity funders group’:
If you would like anything added to this webpage, please contact Dr Sarah Ritchie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020 - 2024
Artificial intelligence for Multiple Long Term Conditions (AIM): Clusters Call
Issuing Funder: NIHR
Status: Applications open spring/early summer 2020
Key Dates: Deadline for submission September 2020. Engagement events for the health, care and AI communities (see news and events).
Key Contacts: email@example.com
The NIHR is seeking feedback and contributions from the health, care and the artificial intelligence (AI) research communities on a £23m Artificial Intelligence for Multiple Long Term Conditions call (AIM) due to launch in late spring/early summer 2020. This call will support research to spearhead the use of advanced data science and AI methods, combined with existing methodology and expertise in clinical practice, applied health and care research and social science, to systematically identify or explore clusters of disease and trajectories for to develop insights for the prevention, identification, management and treatment of multiple long term conditions (multimorbidity) or MLTC-M. We seek applications from cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional teams to develop research in this important field. A total of £20m will be allocated between two streams - larger Research Collaborations and smaller, preparatory Development Grants. An additional £3m is available for a bespoke Research Support Facility with recognised technical competencies and expertise that can provide support to successful applicants to help breakdown existing barriers on data quality and linkage, and to help build capacity within the field.
NIHR are seeking feedback on the draft research specification, including the scope and remit for the Research Support Facility. Virtual engagement and networking events will be held from April – June 2020.
2019 - 2020
Tackling multimorbidity at scale: Understanding disease clusters, determinants & biological pathways
Issuing funder: UKRI and NIHR
July 2020: update on consolidator grant awards, https://mrc.ukri.org/funding/browse/tackling-multimorbidity/spf-mm-2019-call-funded-consolidator-projects/
Key dates: Application deadline 11 February 2020, 16:00 GMT
Key Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications are sought to build multi-disciplinary Research Collaboratives as part of a £20 million Strategic Priorities Fund initiative, “Tackling Multimorbidity at Scale”. This call is jointly funded by the Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research and administered in close collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Large collaborative efforts are needed to address current research gaps and drive forward our understanding of multimorbidity. This call aims to bring together a wide range of researchers from fields as diverse as epidemiology, public health, clinical, biological, medical, social and data sciences, and health services research to facilitate large collaborative efforts to achieve the scale of impact required in this field. The funded Research Collaboratives will add significant understanding to a range of topics, including but not limited to: identification of new disease clusters and their diverse determinants, the trajectories of multimorbidity across the life course, and discovery, validation and targeting of underlying pathways.
It is expected that the views and expertise of patients and carers with lived experience of multimorbidity will be incorporated. Funders also expect that research groups supported through this call will collectively develop an open approach to the reuse of data created and managed within these awards to make their multimorbidity data accessible to the broad scientific community.
Recognising the need to provide timely support and momentum to the field, those groups that are already at a more mature stage, having already developed multi-disciplinary networks and supporting data, have the option to apply for the Research Collaborative award now. For groups or ideas requiring developmental support, there is an initial, rapid Consolidator award stage. These Consolidator awards are available for applicants to build necessary broad collaborations; obtain preliminary data; and/or validate their approaches before submitting a full Collaborative award application. Applications from both established and new partnerships, and from researchers who are new to the multimorbidity field are welcomed.
Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT) – Call 3
Issuing funder: NIHR
Key dates: Mandatory Intend to Submit to be submitted by 29 November 2019, 13:00 GMT.
Stage 1 application along with Proposal and Partnership Development Award (PPDA) application to be submitted by 15 January 2020, 13:00 GMT
Key Contacts: If you have any queries, you can contact the NIHR RIGHT Global Health team by emailing email@example.com or calling 020 8843 8080.
NIHR RIGHT Call 3 supports equitable partnerships between researchers in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) and those in the UK to generate new research knowledge and evidence on interventions to improve outcomes for people affected by multimorbidity in countries eligible for ODA funding.
The aims of RIGHT Call 3 are to:
- deliver applied health research for the direct and primary benefit to the health and wealth of people living in ODA-eligible countries affected by multimorbidity
- ensure that the research funded through this call strengthens capacity for research and knowledge exchange through development of equitable partnerships between researchers in the ODA-eligible countries and the UK
- promote interdisciplinary approaches to working, by specifically encouraging applications necessitating expertise and activities associated with a broad range of health-science disciplines, including but not limited to: clinical, health economics, statistics, qualitative and social sciences.
NIHR is seeking applications for NIHR RIGHT Call 3 that address applied health research in the following areas:
Development and evaluation of interventions and strategies for improved management of multimorbidity,
Healthcare systems strengthening in ODA-eligible countries: research into health care system improvements for improved treatments, management and care for those affected by multimorbidity in LMICs, including capacity building in the primary care setting.
NIHR Global Health Policy and Systems Research Commissioned Awards
Issuing funder: NIHR
Key dates: Application deadline 11 December 2019, 13:00 GMT
Key Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org
The aim of the NIHR Global HPSR Commissioned Awards call is to support equitable partnerships between LMIC and UK researchers to generate new research knowledge and evidence to tackle priorities for health systems strengthening in ODA eligible countries in areas identified as priorities through a stakeholder engagement and consultation exercise.
Awards of up to £4m for a duration of up to 4 years are available for partnerships/consortia led by two Joint Lead Applicants (one from an LMIC and one from a UK institution) and up to three additional Co-Applicants.
Applications submitted to this call will be required to describe how they address the key criteria for funding.
Key criteria for funding:
- Research plans build on established partnerships between two Joint Lead Applicants (one from an LMIC and one from a UK institution), and up to a further three research Co-Applicants, who will form a research team able to support knowledge generation and exchange and strengthen relevant capacity and capability development.
- Research plans are based on a review of the local context, and demonstrate how the application is rooted in existing research literature and health system(s);
- The proposed research draws on an LMIC-led needs analysis, which has refined relevant research questions and priorities through engagement with policy makers, evidence users and local communities, as appropriate. Where partner institutions are in middle-income countries on the DAC list, applications should clearly demonstrate how the research will improve the health and welfare of the most vulnerable populations and how their findings could have wider applicability to other low resource settings.
- There are clear plans for developing institutional and individual research capacity and capability (for example research career development programmes and training; exchanges with policy-making institutions/practice-based settings; and grant management, finance management and contracting etc)
- A clear and implementable strategy for pathways to impact including research uptake and dissemination, based on a theory of change or equivalent.
Applications are invited that address one or more of the following priorities for research and capacity strengthening within health systems in ODA-eligible countries
GCRF Global Multimorbidity – Seed-funding 2019
Issuing funder(s): MRC
Key dates: closing date 9 Oct 2019 16:00 GMT+1
Key contacts: email@example.com
The GCRF global multimorbidity seed-funding call is an MRC initiative that has been developed in collaboration with Wellcome, NIHR, and AMS. The call will support seed-funding projects that develop and test innovative ideas, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, build capacity, and lay the groundwork for future large-scale activity aimed at understanding and tackling multimorbidity in LMICs. Applications are particularly encouraged from Principal Investigators (PIs) based at organisations in LMICs, as well as from eligible research organisations based in the UK working in equitable partnership with LMIC colleagues. It is expected that a total of £2.5 million will be made available to support research grants up to 18 months in duration and up to a maximum of £200,000.
Multimorbidity in the UK population: understanding disease clustering
Issuing funder(s): MRC and NIHR
Key contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) are issuing a joint call for research projects into disease clustering in multimorbidity. Awards of up to £600,000 (funders' contribution) are available for up to 36 months. Funding is available for exploratory or hypothesis-driven research that will systematically identify or explore common disease clusters, their distributions in diverse groups, multimorbidity trajectories and/or the underpinning mechanisms across the life course. We encourage applications from cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional teams to develop research in this important field.
Cross-funders research framework
Version 1.0, June 2020: https://acmedsci.ac.uk/file-download/50613213
The Academy of Medical Sciences, Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research and Wellcome have developed a cross-funder framework that provides a vision for how we, as a funding community, will drive forward the multimorbidity research agenda in the UK and globally.
Pillar 1 of the framework aims to ‘drive advances in our understanding of multimorbidity’. Pillar 2 aims to ‘foster a change in research culture to tackle multiple chronic conditions’. Overall, the framework aims to help co-ordinate funders' efforts and initiatives, and to highlight opportunities where they could wotk together.
Download it from the right hand side of this page of by following this link: https://acmedsci.ac.uk/file-download/50613213
Ongoing projects and initiatives
Below, we summarise current projects, working groups, plans and processes that focus on multimorbidity.
The Richmond Group of Charities Taskforce on Multiple Conditions
A cross-sector partnership between the Richmond Group of Charities, The Royal College of General Practitioners and Guy's and St Thomas' Charity.
Health Data Research UK, National Multimorbidity Research project
This project led by Colin McCowan, Professor of Health Data Science at the University of St Andrews, will work with researchers across the UK bringing together 6 different datasets which hold anonymised information on over 10 million people to explore multimorbidity in the UK at a scale never done before.
CHRODIS PLUS Multimorbidity care model
CHRODIS PLUS is a 2017-2020 initiative funded by the European Commission and participating organisations that aims to implement good practices for chronic diseases. This work package will field test a new Integrated Multimorbidity Care Model for people with multiple morbidities in primary and tertiary care at five sites in Lithuania, Italy and Spain.
Past projects and initiatives
Royal College of General Practitioners spotlight project, Efficient Multimorbidity Management
Key outputs included an RCGP survey of current attitudes to providing multimorbidity care and resource development, such as a set of short ‘Clinical Conversation Cases’ teaching and dissemination tools to support training in multimorbidity conversations and a list of good practice examples.
James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership, Safe Care for Adults with Complex Health Needs
This Priority Setting Partnership identified the Top 10 areas that need research to make care safer for adults with complex health needs (such as those who have more than one illness or disease or condition or disability), by asking patients, carers, the public and healthcare staff about what their unanswered questions are and prioritising them.
These reports are available to download from the right-hand side of this page or by clicking on the links provided below.
The Multiple Conditions Guidebook – case studies and practical solutions to help local areas improve health and wellbeing. Individual case-study downloads and other resources available here. The Richmond Group of Charities
Cardiovascular, metabolic and kidney disease: crosscutting science and best-practice in multimorbidity, Royal College of Physicians, NIHR, Kidney Research UK and the Renal Association (download event briefing from end of page)
Multimorbidity toolkit July 2019, The Royal College of General Practitioners
GACD researchers' statement on multimorbidity, Global Alliance for Chronic Disease
Multiple chronic conditions: an emerging healthcare challenge, Economic and Social Research Council (evidence briefing)
From one to many: Exploring people’s progression to multiple long-term conditions in an urban environment, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity
Multimorbitiy: a priority for global health research, The Academy of Medical Sciences
Multimorbidity: Understanding the challenge, The Richmond Group of Charities
Just one thing after another: Living with multiple conditions, The Richmond Group of Charities
During the course of our work on multimorbidity, a number of academic resources and relevant journals about the issue were brought to our attention. While this list should not be considered fully exhaustive, we hope that it will nonetheless act as a helpful contributor to this space. If you would like anything added to this page, please contact Dr Sarah Ritchie.
Multimorbidity - a defining challenge for health systems
Pearson-Stuttard, Ezzati and Gregg. The Lancet Public Health, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(19)30222-1/fulltext?dgcid=raven_jbs_etoc_email
‘Multimorbidity’: an acceptable term for patients or time for a rebrand?
Chew-Graham, O'Toole, Taylor and Salisbury. British Journal of General Practice, https://bjgp.org/content/69/685/372
Multimorbidity research at the crossroads: developing the scientific evidence for clinical practice and health policy
Journal of Internal Medicine SYMPOSIUM, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/joim.12883
Other useful resources
Multimorbidity: clinical assessment and management, NICE guideline [NG56]
This guideline covers optimising care for adults with multimorbidity by reducing treatment burden (polypharmacy and multiple appointments) and unplanned care.
The International Research Community on Multimorbidity
The International Research Community on Multimorbidity (IRCMo) is a virtual community bringing together researchers and health care professionals that are directing leading contributions to new understandings and approaches to multimorbidity in primary care.
Videos and media
The Richmond Group of Charities short films on living with multiple conditions, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC74kvvXDJ7pEOyMc9ZE2syQ
Research funders publish framework to tackle multiple long-term conditions, 2nd June 2020
Upcoming events (all)
Multimorbidity: A new research pathway
Date: Postponed due to COVID-19
This Academy FORUM workshop, in partnership with the MRC and NIHR, will explore how we might harness new understanding of the biological pathways behind co-morbidities and disease clustering to develop new therapies and interventions.
NIHR AI and Multimorbidity Research – Stakeholder engagement events for the health, care and AI research communities
The NIHR is seeking feedback and contributions from the health, care and artificial intelligence (AI) research communities on a £23m Artificial Intelligence for Multiple Long Term Conditions call (AIM) due to launch in late spring/early summer 2020. This call will support research to spearhead the use of advanced data science and AI methods, combined with existing methodology and expertise in clinical practice, applied health and care research and social science, to systematically identify or explore clusters of disease and trajectories to develop insights for the prevention, identification, management and treatment of multiple long term conditions (multimorbidity) or MLTC-M. A total of £20m will be allocated between two streams - larger Research Collaborations and smaller, preparatory Development Grants. An additional £3m is available for a bespoke Research Support Facility with recognised technical competencies and expertise that can provide support to successful applicants to help breakdown existing barriers on data quality and linkage, and to help build capacity within the field. Ahead of the call launch NIHR will be running a series of virtual engagement events to: get feedback on the draft research specification, including the scope and remit for the Research Support Facility, to get a better understanding of the barriers and facilitators to conducting MLTC-M research using AI insight and techniques and to facilitate networking between those interested in applying.
Virtual engagement and networking events will be held from April – June 2020. More information on the call can be found here. Written feedback or comments on the research spec can be submitted here in the meantime.
Past news upates
Taking multimorbidity out of the 'too difficult' box, 30th July 2019
Past events (conferences)
International Symposium on Multimorbidity: Advancing cross-national planning and partnership, Ontario, Canada
Date: 15 November 2019
Co-presented by the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Department of Family Medicine in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University, Canada.
This symposium aimed to discuss progress around mutlimorbidity research in attendees' countries, facilitate collaboration through brainstorming and discussion, and create concrete advancement in multimorbidity research and knowledge through cross-national partnerships. A programme is available at the link above.
11th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health 2019 (ECTMIH)
Cardiovascular, metabolic and kidney disease: crosscutting science and best practice
Date: 1 July 2019
This one-day conference aimed to stimulate discussion and ideas and help set the foundation for establishing strategic partnerships to ultimately improve the health of patients with multimorbidity.
Briefing report now available here, with presentations and an executive summary also available on the event webpage.
Multimorbidity research at the cross-roads: developing the evidence for clinical practice and health policy
Date: 21 May 2018
This one-day international symposium explored definitions and assessments of multimorbidity, multiborbidity in clinical practice and in health policy. Held in Stockholm, it convened speakers from Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK and US. Lessons learned and videos of the presentations are available online.
Organised by the Journal of Internal Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, University of Exeter, Threads & Yarns Collaboration, KI Strategic Research Area in Epidemiology.
Past events (workshops)
Improving the prevention and management of multimorbidity in sub-Saharan Africa
Date: 5 - 6 September 2019
This two-day workshop in Johannesburg, chaired by Professor Alan Silman FMedSci and Professor Karen Hofman, facilitated discussions around improving the prevention and management of multimorbidity in sub-Saharan Africa.
A written report will be produced and disseminated to UK and international stakeholders with identified next steps to help tackle multimorbidity in sub-Saharan Africa.
Advancing research to tackle multimorbidity: the UK and LMIC perspectives
Date: 20 - 21 June 2018
In June 2018, the Academy held a two-day joint workshop bringing together participants from funding agencies, researchers from high-, low- and middle-income countries (HICs and LMICs, respectively), and policymakers.
This workshop provided a platform to discuss and determine how best to support multimorbidity research, in both the UK and LMICs, in order address key priorities outlined in the Academy’s 2018 international policy report,
Senior Policy Officer
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