This platform aims to join-up and share helpful resources relevant to research on the global health challenge of multiple long-term conditions (Multimorbidity) (MLTC). 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.
Multiple Long-Term Conditions (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, MLTC are 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. MLTC are 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 MLTC. 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 MLTC research, and support the research needed to better understand the trends, clusters, mechanisms and causes, burden, prevention and management of MLTC.
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.
On 10 September 2021, the MLTC research funders group of 26 different funders, charities and organisations, held it's third cross-funder meeting, convening to share updates on their work and discuss the opportunities for working together to support and fund MLTC research. Read more on the event under the cross funders tab of this page.
By acting as a platform to share MLTC 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 MLTC.
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 Fern Brookes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020 - 2024 Funding calls
Pre-announcement: Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships: rounds two and three
Issuing funder: UKRI
Key dates: Spring 2022/ Early 2023 (to be confirmed)
The Alan Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships have been announced for Spring 2022 (round two) and Early 2023 (round three). International applicants are welcome. However, you must be based in the UK at an organisation eligible for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding to hold the fellowship. There are no set eligibility criteria for this award. However, you should show that you:
- have international standing in your area
- can add value to AI research in the UK
- can build AI capability and capacity in the UK
Visit the dedicated web page for further information as it is announced.
Targeting shared mechanisms in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases - funding call
Issuing funder: Connect Immune Research / Chernajovsky Foundation (administered by Versus Arthritis)
Key dates: Deadline 13 October 2021
Key Contacts: email@example.com.
A new £1.3 million pump-priming call for ‘Targeting shared mechanisms in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases' has launched. It is now open for 12-month pilot grants of up to £100,000 for projects that identify potential new treatments for people living with multiple autoimmune conditions. For the details of this initiative please visit the Versus Arthritis website. Applications close on 13 October 2021.
Multiple long-term conditions - Studies within a project (SWAP)
Issuing Funder: NIHR
Status: Started in May 2021
Key Dates: Submitted with main applications.
This opportunity is complementary to that for clinical trials in the HTA programme but goes broader to include research questions to incorporate an MLTC lens into funded research in addition to methodological knowledge. It is specifically related to multiple long-term conditions. The opportunity is available for all research applications to the NIHR Health Technology Assessment, Public Health Research and Health Service and Delivery Research Programmes. Applicants can propose an embedded study within a project (SWAP) that would be short and efficient, with findings put into the public domain as soon as they are available as an interim output. A SWAP will be a small part of the overall application and should be costed at no more than £30,000 to include all dissemination and publication associated with the SWAP.
Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD)
GACD funding calls will be announced annually each November, beginning in 2021. Whilst to date the GACD has funded disease-specific grants, the next three funding calls will target multimorbidity and common NCD risk factors, in alignment with its Strategic Plan. All calls will focus on implementation science. The 2021-2023 call topics are anticipated as follows:
2021: NCD prevention in adolescents, young adults and other vulnerable stages across the life course: implementation science focused on addressing common NCD risk factors through interventions that reduce health risk and/or enhance positive health and lifestyle behaviours in young people, and in other vulnerable life course stages (e.g., childhood, elderly).
2022: Interventions in urban environments to reduce NCD risk: implementation science focused on individual and/or structural level interventions that can reduce NCD risk and/or maximise the health-promoting potential of cities. Transdisciplinary partnerships among health, urban planning and behavioural science experts are encouraged.
2023: Integrated management of multimorbidity: implementation science focused on integrating interventions for optimising management and care for patients with multimorbidity.
The GACD is committed to supporting research undertaken through genuine partnership among high and low/middle-income country academics, policymakers, local authorities, and community groups. Where possible, research questions should be driven by local stakeholders and other intended beneficiaries of the research project.
Artificial intelligence for Multiple Long Term Conditions (AIM): Clusters Call
Issuing Funder: NIHR
Key Dates: Deadline for submission September 2020.
Key Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
June 2021: update on Wave 2 Collaborative grant awards, https://mrc.ukri.org/research/initiatives/multimorbidity-multiple-long-term-conditions-mltc/#_Supported_Research
January 2021: update on Wave 1 Collaborative grant awards, https://mrc.ukri.org/research/initiatives/multimorbidity-multiple-long-term-conditions-mltc/#_Supported_Research
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: email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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.
‘We Are Undefeatable’ charities produce videos to support people with health conditions to move more
November 2021: The Richmond Group of Charities’ physical activity coalition - Movement for All - has developed a new physical activity DVD aimed at people living with multiple long term health conditions. Working with the wider partnership behind the award-winning campaign We Are Undefeatable and a team of expert instructors, the sessions have been specially designed for people who may experience symptoms such as fatigue, pain, stiffness and low mood.
The series – Make Your Move - aims to support people to be active at home and is available on DVD and on YouTube. The charities hope the DVD and online videos will motivate people to be active in a way that works for them, using simple and varied instructed activities that are designed to improve strength, balance, coordination and energy and reduce stress, and are suitable for a variety of activity levels.
Visit the dedicated #Makeyourmove YouTube channel to explore the videos.
Ongoing projects and initiatives
Below, we summarise current projects, working groups, plans and processes that focus on multimorbidity.
Projects supported by Strategic Priorities Fund “Tackling multimorbidity at scale” initiative:
ADMISSION | ADMISSION | Newcastle University (ncl.ac.uk) - Multimorbidity Research Collaborative on MLTC in Hospital: from burden and inequalities to underlying mechanisms.
GEMINI > GEMINI (exeter.ac.uk) - Genetic Evaluation of Multimorbidity towards INdividualisation of Interventions
Multimorbidity Mechanisms and Therapeutics Research Collaborative | UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science - UCL – University College London - The Multimorbidity Mechanisms and Therapeutics Research Collaborative (MMTRC) brings patients, carers, scientists and clinicians together to address the problem of multimorbidity.
MuM-PreDiCT (mumpredict.org) - Multimorbidity and Pregnancy: Determinants, Clusters, Consequences and Trajectories.
Projects supported by NIHR Artificial Intelligence for Multiple Long-Term Conditions (AIM):
AI Multiply - Using artificial intelligence (AI) to characterise the dynamic inter-relationships between MUltiple Long-term condiTIons and PoLYpharmacy and across diverse UK populations and inform health care pathways.
MELD-B - Multidisciplinary Ecosystem to study Lifecourse Determinants and Prevention of Early-onset Burdensome Multimorbidity.
International Research Community on Multimorbidity
International Research Community on Multimorbidity provides regularly updated Library of publications 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.
Past projects and initiatives
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.
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.
Taskforce on Multiple Conditions Report - Identifying a series of key questions and opportunities for change, this work is designed to support and shape the plans and actions of everyone responsible for the delivery of health and care services alongside others who can make a difference for people with multiple conditions. Join in the Twitter discussion using @RichmondGroup14; #YouOnlyHadToAsk.
Cross-funders research framework - 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.
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
The NIHR has awarded more than £10m to artificial intelligence research for multiple long-term conditions.
The four collaborative projects will use artificial intelligence (AI) methods to better understand clusters of multiple long-term conditions.
This second round of funding brings the total awarded for research and to the innovative new Research Support Facility to £23 million.
The new Research Collaborations will look at improving treatment for people who are prescribed several different medicines together, why some people develop multiple conditions early in life, and which conditions are more likely to occur together in people with intellectual disabilities.
The research has been funded through the Artificial Intelligence for Multiple Long-Term Conditions (AIM) call. This call funds research that combines data science and AI methods with health, care and social science expertise to identify new clusters of disease and understand how multiple long-term conditions develop over the course of people’s lives.
Read more about the four new innovative projects, here.
Inaugural MLTC Symposium attracts big name speakers, sparks conversation & champions collaboration.
The ADMISSION Collaborative was delighted to host the inaugural UK Multiple Long-Term Conditions (MLTC) Symposium welcoming over 130 delegates, including academics and patient and public representatives, from across the UK.
The focus of this online event was to discuss future directions for MLTC research, foster collaborations within the rapidly expanding MLTC research community and ultimately allow us to continue to drive change and progress in treatment.
Delegates were privileged to hear Professor Lucy Chappell FMedSci, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care and Chief Executive Officer of the National Institute for Health & Care Research, deliver a fantastic keynote talk. Professor Chappell highlighted that taking MLTC research out of the “too difficult box” is an NIHR priority – a challenge that delegates can hopefully rise to and help achieve.
Following on from Professor Chappell, delegates heard from lead investigators on some of the UKRI/NIHR funded MLTC Research Collaboratives and NIHR funded Artificial Intelligence for MLTC (AIM) projects. Prof Avan Sayer (Newcastle University, NIHR Newcastle BRC) showcased the work of the ADMISSION Collaborative; Prof Mike Barnes (Queen Mary University of London) and Prof Nick Reynolds (Newcastle University) discussed the AI Multiply project and Prof Tim Frayling (University of Exeter) presented the work of the GEMINI Collaborative.
“Best event I've attended in a long time. Very interesting to hear from the AI researchers.” – MLTC Symposium Delegate
“I am a staff nurse in acute medicine who has a particular keen interest in Long term conditions. I have further plans to study at Level 7 and this was the type of information that really informs my work. Information learnt on the day was important in my updating developments and improvements in management of Long-Term conditions.” – MLTC Symposium Delegate
There was then an opportunity to hear from next generation researchers with excellent talks delivered by Dr Ing Lee (MuM-PreDiCT), Dr Mo Osman (ADMISSION) and Dr Kimberly Kendall (LINC) on their recent findings and their routes into MLTC research.
Smaller focused group discussions provided a networking opportunity and, alongside Q&A sessions which everyone was encouraged to contribute to, enabled meaningful links to be developed between delegates.
“I really enjoyed the symposium and exciting to see the enthusiasm for impactful research in this area, and willingness to collaborate between groups.” – MLTC Symposium Delegate
We aim to carry on these conversations and would like to thank everyone who joined us for the event.
To hear about future events hosted by the ADMISSION Collaborative please join the mailing list.
Wellcome launches new funding schemes with focus on collaborative/team science that leads to new discoveries.
Wellcome launched a new strategy at the end of 2020 with the aim to support science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. Science is at the heart of this new strategy, along with a set of new funding schemes which aim to support a wide spectrum of researchers from the UK, the Republic of Ireland and from low- and middle-income countries to have the freedom and creativity to pursue research within discovery research. One such scheme, which is particularly relevant to multimorbidity researchers is the Wellcome Discovery Award. The scheme is designed to provide funding for established researchers and teams of researchers from any discipline to address large bold research questions that will generate shifts in understanding that could improve human health and wellbeing. Applications for the new funding schemes are now open, with the application deadline for the discovery award being the 11th of November 2021. Follow the link here for more information including eligibility information, remit and a helpful webinar which gives an overview of all Wellcome’s new response-mode funding schemes under Discovery Research.
Four large collaborative studies are awarded by the Strategic Priorities Fund initiative to research multiple long-term conditions [May 2021]
The Strategic Priorities Fund Programme “Tackling multimorbidity at scale: Understanding disease clusters, determinants and biological pathways”, jointly funded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Department of Health and Social Care, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), announced its recent funding of four wave 2 Research Collaboratives that complement wave 1 awards. The recent awards are:
Physical and mental health multimorbidity across the lifespan (LIfespaN multimorbidityresearch Collaborative (LINC)). Professor Marianne Van den Bree leads the team that includes academics and clinical researches from several UK universities, as well as psychiatric experts from Denmark, and will focus on understanding how physical and mental health multiple long-term conditions develop across the lifespan, including younger age and childhood. The LINC collaborative network has an extensive infrastructure and established connections to local and national governments, mental health services and charities to investigate how various factors, including genetics, ethnicity, sex and socioeconomic factors contribute to our health.
Multimorbidity and Pregnancy: Determinants, Clusters, Consequences and Trajectories (MuM-PreDiCT). This innovative study will address an important problem of multimorbidity in pregnancy. It will be looking at a range of physical and mental health conditions in order to improve care for women before, during and after pregnancy. The study will be carried out by the exceptional collaborative network involving researchers and clinicians from all four countries in the UK and led by Dr Krishnarajah Nirantharakumar. The collaborative has a strong commitment to training early-career scientists, expanding links with other groups and engaging policymakers and patient groups.
Genetic Evaluation of Multimorbidity towards INdividualisation of Interventions (GEMINI). Professor Timothy Frayling leads this international multi-disciplinary collaborative that will focus on uncovering new genetic links between causally related multiple long-term conditions aiming to advance individualised treatment approaches. The study was co-produced with strong input from patients and public representatives and plans to engage with diverse populations and hard-to-reach groups to identify new associations of diseases.
DEfining MechanIsms Shared across mulTI-organ FIbrosis to prevent the development of long-term multi-morbidity (DEMISTIFI-Multi Morbidity). This ambitious and innovative academic-industry collaboration aims to uncover etiological mechanisms of multi-organ fibrosis to prevent the development of multimorbidity. It will be delivered by a well-coordinated collaborative network led by Professor Gisli Jenkins. The team includes interdisciplinary researchers and clinicians supported by representatives of specialised charities and professional patient and public involvement (PPI) co-investigators, who contributed significantly to the design of the study.
More evidence needed to understand the complexity of multiple long-term conditions (multimorbidity) [June 2021]
A recent overview of research, published as part of the NIHR Collections, looks at the available evidence that underpins our understanding of multimorbidity, including research on various risk factors and potential insights from studies investigating how diseases cluster together. It also highlights methodological challenges and the need for further research to make significant progress. Addressing some of these challenges, a group of researchers from multiple UK research organisations created a new accessible research-ready data asset, the Wales Multimorbidity e-Cohort (WMC).
The field needs more evidence to inform treatment and prevention approaches for those with multiple long-term conditions. Such, for example, as provided in a recent study, which demonstrated that public health recommendations about the benefits of the healthy lifestyle equally apply to individuals with and without multimorbidity; or recent evidence that having two or more physical conditions is associated with incident common mental health disorders, that might suggest the benefit of integrated mental and physical healthcare and targeted preventative interventions for those with physical multimorbidity.
Upcoming events (all)
Landing Multiple Long-Term Conditions (MLTC) research in the health and care system
Tuesday 22 November 2022, 10am-12:30pm GMT, Online
The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) are hosting a virtual event to support those doing multiple long-term conditions or multimorbidity (MLTC-M) research to understand how to achieve impact through effective engagement with policymakers in the health and care system.
The aims of the event are:
- To identify pathways to impact and implementation for MLTC-M research
- To share best practice for engaging and influencing policy makers on MLTC-M research
- To understand the challenges in achieving impact from MLTC-M research and identify how we can overcome them as a research community and as funders
- To facilitate networking between research groups working on MLTC-M research.
This event will be of interest to people working in and using MLTC-M research, including early career researchers, those involved in public and patient engagement, and policymakers.
The event will be a forum for discussion, with the opportunity to ask questions and for sharing practical tips. The event will open with a keynote presentation from Professor Lucy Chappell, CEO of the NIHR and DHSC Chief Scientific Advisor, and will be followed by panel discussions with policy leads working in health and social care across the UK. With plenty of time for discussion, the event will spark conversations between people with experience of conducting and applying MLTC-M research.
- Welcome and intros
- Keynote speaker – Professor Lucy Chappell
- Opportunities and challenges in implementation panel discussion and Q&A
- Influencing policy makers – tips for implementation spark speakers and Q&A
- Breakout room discussions and feedback discussion in plenary
- Event close
Please use this registration form to sign up for the event by Friday 18 November 2022 (registration slots will be first come first served) and please share among your networks.
If you have any questions about the event, please get in touch with NIHR and UKRI organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Past news updates
Multiple long-term conditions: Making sense of the evidence [March 2021]
Despite the ambition for more integrated care, as set out in the Government's recent Health and Care White Paper, which is central to strategies to address the challenges presented by multiple conditions, research is now demonstrasting that this is far from sufficient to address the complex issues raised by the rising number of people with multiple conditions. A recent briefing of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) [published 30 March 2021] aims to unpack such challenges for those wrestling with them locally and nationally. It builds on the Academy of Medical Science’s 2018 report “Multimorbidity: a priority for global health research” along with other research in this area, exploring the impact of multiple conditions both on people’s lives and on the healthcare service, aiming to make sense of the evidence, deepen understanding and lead to the development of more effective strategies.
Input sought to help shape new longitudinal data resource, Population Research UK [March 2021]
Population Research UK (PRUK) is a new infrastructure resource being developed by HDR UK on behalf of the MRC, the ESRC and Wellcome. The infrastructure aims to maximise the use and impact of the UK’s longitudinal population study portfolio by enhancing interoperability via introducing common standards for linkage across multiple biomedical and social science data types. PRUK is in a pilot “design and dialogue” phase to define the requirements for the future infrastructure putting user needs at the centre of the PRUK development. Relevant stakeholders and study leads are invited to complete a short 15-minute survey to help PRUK to define the priorities to focus on. We encourage those working in MLTC research to complete the survey to ensure your needs are being considered. The survey is open until 9 April 2021: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PRUKdesignsurvey.
Researchers may also sign up to the Population Research UK mailing list.
Two multidisciplinary collaborative studies are being launched to further research on multimorbidity [March 2021]
The Strategic Priorities Fund Programme “Tackling multimorbidity at scale: Understanding disease clusters, determinants and biological pathways”, jointly funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Department of Health and Social Care, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), announced its recent funding of two Research Collaboratives awarded in Wave 1:
- Multimorbidity Mechanism and Therapeutics Research Collaborative (MMTRC). Professor Aroon Hingorani leads this collaboration between University College London, University of Cambridge, University of Bristol, University Hospitals Birmingham and the University of Liverpool. The project will seek to better understand the causes of multiple conditions in the same patient to help develop new and optimise the use of existing medicines to improve patient care.
ADMISSION UK: Multimorbidity Research Collaborative on MLTC in Hospital: from burden and inequalities to underlying mechanisms. The study, led by Professor Avan Sayer, Newcastle University, brings together scientists, clinicians and patients from five UK universities and hospitals (Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester Metropolitan, University College London and Dundee) to transform understanding of multiple long-term conditions in hospital patients. Follow the collaborative on Twitter for their latest updates: @AdmissionCollab.
The outcome of Wave 2 competition is expected to be announced later this year. For information on the Consolidator projects supported through this SPF programme please visit: https://mrc.ukri.org/research/initiatives/multimorbidity-multiple-long-term-conditions-mltc/#_Supported_Research
Research shows interconnection between health care needs of people with multiple conditions and those at household level
New Health Foundation research [published 3 March 2021] shows that the health and health care needs of people living in the same household are interconnected. The findings highlight the potential for services to make better use of household information when planning and providing care. Find out more and access the full publication here: https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/news/new-research-shows-the-health-care-use-of-individuals-with-m
Research funders publish framework to tackle multiple long-term conditions, 2nd June 2020
Taking multimorbidity out of the 'too difficult' box, 30th July 2019
Past events (conferences)
UK SPINE 2022 Annual Conference
Monday 27 June - Tuesday 28 June, Alderley Park, Cheshire
The UK SPINE Knowledge Exchange are hosting their annual conference. The conference will span two days, with the first day focused on exploring the scientific research behind healthy ageing and showcasing some of the research UK Spine has supported. The second day will have a broader focus, bringing in discussions from a range of stakeholders including industry, clinicians, patients and investors.
Growing the longevity economy - Canada and the UK ecosystems to support (digital) health innovators
October 20th, 5pm (GMT)
The Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) in the UK is working in partnership with the AGE-WELL network in Canada to facilitate collaboration across health, academic, industrial and third sector organisations, to support the development and adoption of new technologies to support an ageing population.
This 90-minute online event with Q&A will demonstrate how the ecosystems in both continents support digital health innovation - and will help anyone interested in digital innovation for healthy ageing to understand the opportunities and avenues available for support.
International Society on Aging and Disease (ISOAD) 4th Conference
October 29 to November 1, 2021 in Beijing, China
This Conference will address a range of critically important studies relating to aging and aged-related disease in the world today. Proposals for paper presentations, posters/exhibits, or colloquia are invited.
International Symposium on Multimorbidity
November 1, 2021, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
This hybrid, one-day symposium covers three key areas in the field of multimorbidity: 1) definitions of multimorbidity, 2) clinical practice and 3) organization of care. The event can be attended either online or physically.
International Conference on Multimorbidity and The Importance of Person-Centered Primary Care
August 23-24, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary
International Conference on Multimorbidity and The Importance of Person-Centered Primary Care aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Multimorbidity and The Importance of Person-Centered Primary Care. It also provides an interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered, and solutions adopted in these fields of research.
Improving health & social care research for people with MLTCs and multimorbidity
Dates: 27 May 2021 &16 June 2021
NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South London ran the workshop followed up by a seminar to learn more about doing research together with people with multiple long-term conditions. The workshop included academics and patient and public representatives interested in Palliative and End of Life Theme, and Public Health and Social care. The topic of the seminar was ‘How applied health research is supporting people with multiple long-term conditions and reducing health and care inequalities.’ See the summary and slides on findings from the cross-theme patient and public involvement workshop.
Cancer Research UK RadNet Multimorbidity workshop
Dates: 27 April 2021, 9.00AM – 27 April 2021, 1.00 PM online
Up to 2/3 of all cancer patients have at least one comorbidity. The multidisciplinary experts discussed the implications for the management of cancer patients with multimorbidity and the strategies and interventions that are available to improve their care. The CRUK, RadNet and Manchester Cancer Research center organised this workshop to raise awareness of multiple long-term conditions such as dementia, COPD, interstitial lung disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes and highlight the impact they can have on cancer care.
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.
COVID-19 and Multimorbidity: How to Deal with Multiple Infectious Diseases in Parallel?
Dates: 26 November 2020 17:00-18:15 UK time
What happens when COVID-19 meets other infectious diseases such as HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria? Leopoldina International presented this virtual panel discussion in cooperation with the Academy of Science of South Africa, the Académie des Sciences et Techniques du Sénégal, the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, and the UK Academy of Medical Sciences.
Workshop on Statistical methods for Cluster Analysis applied to multimorbidity
Dates: 26 November 2020 10:00-12:00 UK time
The Statistical Methods for Multi-Morbidity Community of Practice is a recently formed european-wide network of academic and industry data scientists with an active interest in multimorbidity. The event will consist of three three separate talks covering a range of statistical approaches for cluster analysis and their application to multimorbidity research using electronic health record data. The event is free of charge and accessible through the link above. If you would like to join the Community of Practice please contact the group Chair Jack Bowden (email@example.com) or Ruth Bowyer (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.
Multimorbidity: Cross-sector opportunities for developing new interventions for patients with multiple long-term conditions
Date: 19 & 22 October 2020
This Academy FORUM workshop, in partnership with the MRC and NIHR, explored how we might harness new understanding of disease clustering, biological pathways behind co-morbidities and clinical trials to develop new therapies and interventions. A full summary report of the workshop will be published in due course.
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,
Where Next? Reflections from the third MLTC cross-funder group meeting
Sophie Lewis, NIHR MLTC Research Programme Manager shares her reflections and key points from the recent MLTC Cross-Funder Group meeting [10 September 2021].
Multiple long-term conditions (MLTC) is everyone’s problem and collaboration is required to improve care for the growing number of people with MLTCs. As funders, we can all take a MLTC lens in the work that we do already to better address the challenges faced by people with MLTC and their carers. In September, 26 different funders, charities and organisations – the MLTC research funders group - convened to share updates on their work and discuss the opportunities for working together to support and fund MLTC research. We also reflected on how we were addressing the ambitions outlined in the ‘Cross-funder multimorbidity research framework’ and how this might evolve going forward.
Applying a MLTC lens to what we do
It was great to hear that group members were already progressing activities to support MLTC research. Some members were working on specific projects or research into MLTC, while others were considering how they can take MLTC into account across their research strategy or future work plans. Even charities and organisations which focused on a particular disease or condition highlighted MLTC as a converging theme or focal point within their work. For example, some were exploring the intersection and interplay between mental and physical health; this is an area requiring better understanding given that mood disorders such as depression, severe psychiatric conditions and alcohol and substance abuse cluster with a wide range of physical health conditions. While others were exploring the relationship between social inequalities and MLTC, specifically looking at the social determinants and outcomes of MLTC, including inequalities in prevalence and access to health and social care services.
As well as applying a MLTC lens to the work which organisations are undertaking, we know that there is benefit to be gained from charities and funders working together in collaboration, rather than taking a siloed approach to researching and treating single conditions. Working in siloes does not work for patients, is inefficient and costly.
Through the workshop discussions, some specific areas and topics for collaboration were identified, including early detection, which looks to shift from a symptomatic firefighting approach to proactive prevention in identifying and treating disease and/or multiple conditions. Polypharmacy and ageing were also flagged as potential areas for joined up working. Additionally, identifying symptoms common across multiple diseases, such as pain or fatigue, presents another opportunity. The cross-funder group will continue to work together to advocate for taking a MLTC approach to research.
There were some suggestions raised around how we can improve partnership working within the cross-funder group to better fund and support MLTC research. For example, this could be in mobilising the cross-funder group as a forum for identifying those who might be interested in partnering up on MLTC research. The group also has scope to play more of a role in embedding high quality dissemination and knowledge exchange across organisations, to capitalise on the diversity in research portfolios, capacity and capability.
Learning from the Covid-19 pandemic
A number of attendees highlighted the learning opportunities for MLTC research provided by the Covid-19 pandemic. This included learning from the impact of Covid-19 on multiple systems within the body and its parallels with experiences of patients with MLTC, the changes in health delivery which have occurred in order to respond to the pandemic, how the pandemic has brought health inequalities to the fore and also, the impact of Covid-19 on individuals with MLTC. Kidney Research UK, a cross-funder group member is already using lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic to inform the development and design of effective clinical trials to study MLTC. This is related to their work in investigating how kidney disease is linked to other conditions that people commonly experience at the same time, including heart disease, diabetes and mental health problems.
Looking forward: working in collaboration to tackle MLTC
As mentioned earlier, the cross-funder group has a MLTC research framework which outlines the evidence aims and cultural changes that are required to support and fund MLTC research. During the meeting, the group reflected on the first two years of the framework, few people thought it needed an update just yet as the themes and aims were still relevant. However, it was felt that we – as a cross-funder group - could do more to promote the framework, better highlight on-going work to address its aims, and to respond vocally to the call to arms contained within.
Overall, the cross-funder group meeting showcased the excellent work on MLTC research being undertaken by members. The next step for progressing this portfolio of work is to build on existing partnerships and create new partnerships to work collaboratively to accelerate progress and ensure we, as a group, are feeding a channel of MLTC research across the translational circle to achieve impact, change and outcomes for those who are at greatest need or who will gain the most benefit.
For further information on MLTC research, or details of how to get in touch, see the Multiple Long-Term Conditions Helpful Resources main page.
International Policy Manager
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