Health science centre brings University and NHS closer | University of Oxford

Health science centre brings University and NHS closer

A new partnership of Oxford's world-leading NHS Trusts and academic institutions will tackle the major healthcare challenges of the 21st century.

The Oxford Academic Health Science Centre (OxAHSC) designation was announced by the Department of Health today.

The OxAHSC partners are Oxford University, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, and Oxford Brookes University.

The centre will combine the institutions' individual strengths in world-class basic science, translational research, training and clinical expertise to address 21st-century healthcare challenges. It will allow scientific discoveries to move rapidly from the lab to the ward, operating theatre and general practice, so patients benefit from innovative new treatments.

It will also drive economic growth through partnerships with industry, including life sciences companies.

Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: 'This new accolade is a wonderful recognition of the excellence of medical sciences research at the University of Oxford and the success of Oxford researchers, and our colleagues in the NHS and at Oxford Brookes, at translating scientific advances into benefits for patients, the community, and healthcare professionals.'

Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the OxAHSC Board, said: 'The success of the application reflects the strengths of the four partners in all areas: research, education and healthcare. The collaborative approach, commitment and enthusiasm during the development of the themes was key and I am confident that we can now continue to build on this to deliver locally, nationally and internationally. I would like to thank all those who played their part in delivering this success.'

Professor Alastair Buchan, Head of the Medical Sciences Division and Dean of the Medical School, University of Oxford, said: 'This will provide the Division and the Medical School with further opportunities for collaboration in research and in healthcare improvements, and also encourage multidisciplinary education, training and healthcare delivery for the benefits of the wider community.'

Sir Jonathan Michael, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust Chief Executive, said: 'This is a tremendous boost for the patients we serve and it is international recognition of Oxford's excellence in medical research and clinical delivery. The partnership will further strengthen the joint working between our four institutions. Together we have the people, the expertise, the facilities and, most importantly, the determination to tackle the major challenges facing healthcare.'

Stuart Bell CBE, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive, said: 'I am delighted that this AHSC designation has recognised the fantastic opportunities which our collaboration of NHS and academic partners brings. Our focus will be to transform healthcare for the benefit of patients and their carers, both locally and globally. It is also a major boost for the life sciences sector, which is such a key contributor to the prosperity of Oxfordshire and the wider Thames Valley.'

June Girvin, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, said: 'We are absolutely delighted with this outcome. The AHSC designation recognises the strength there is in our existing collaboration and the significant potential for the future. This is great news for the Oxford health community, and shows how all of us can play our part in global health developments.'

OxAHSC's five-year programme will focus on six core themes which are central to a sustainable and successful healthcare system:

  • Big Data: Delivering the Digital Medicine Revolution
  • Building Novel NHS, University and Industry Relationships
  • Modulating the Immune Response for Patient Benefit
  • Managing the Epidemic of Chronic Disease
  • Emerging Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Cognitive Health: Maintaining Cognitive Function in Health and Disease

Six partnerships of England's leading NHS Trusts and universities have been designated as Academic Health Science Centres (AHSCs) by the Department of Health for the next five years, and will work to research new treatments and improve health education and patient care.

Health Minister Lord Howe said: 'When the NHS and universities come together they can achieve great things. These six partnerships are among the world leaders in health research, health education, and patient care and working with industry to promote economic growth. The centres, which were recommended for designation by a panel of international experts, also drive economic growth through their partnerships with industry, including life sciences companies.'

The OxAHSC is embedded within the recently designated Oxford Academic Health Science Network. This will enable the swift uptake, adoption and translation of research outcomes, innovations and improvements in healthcare practice across this wider geography.