New update paper – 17 year of funding trends and new global health burden metrics

The ResIn study has published a new paper that covers all 17 years of the UK dataset so far (1997-2013) and compiled some new metrics describing the comparisons between disease burden and amount of research funding going towards specific infectious diseases. We find, for example, that some of the neglected tropical diseases continue to be well-funded and could probably be described as a UK research strength; influenza also comes out well in our analysis thanks to relatively recent large investments in respiratory research. Conversely, there is still little funding available for some non-HIV sexually-transmitted infections such as gonorrhoea and syphilis.

The full paper is open access, published in EBioMedicine. Click here for the manuscript.

Citation –
Head MG, Fitchett JR, Nageshwaran V, Kumari N, Hayward AC, Atun R. Research investments in global health: a systematic analysis of UK infectious disease research funding and global health metrics, 1997-2013. EBioMedicine. 2015. doi:10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.12.016

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ResIn contributes to WHO R&D Observatory call for evidence

We have had our latest manuscript published in the journal Health Research Policy and Systems. This paper is the first to be published as part of the World Health Organisation R&D Observatory call for evidence.

Our article compares research investment to United Kingdom institutions with published outputs for tuberculosis, HIV and malaria. We analyse these by numbers of publications and citations and by disease and type of science, in order to identify what research is most prolific in terms of published outputs in these three disease areas.

To see our findings, click here for the full-open access paper.

And click here to see more about the R&D Observatory call for evidence

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Neonatal infectious disease commentary in Lancet Global Health

ResIn contributed data and investigator time to a commentary that appeared in Lancet Global Health, entitled Neonatal infection: a major burden with minimal funding. There are around 0.7 million neonatal deaths worldwide each year due to infectious diseases, but when correlating investment against disease burden for 25 infections, neonatal disease ranks lowest of all. The commentary covers more on that point, plus some pragmatic discussion around the need for capacity-strengthening and raising of awareness in this important area.

See the link above for the full commentary, also see our publications page for the rest of our published outputs.


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Two papers published by ResIn study – pneumonia and STIs

Two papers published by Research Investments in Global Health (ResIn) study – pneumonia and STIs 

The ResIn study has published a couple of papers over the summer of 2015, covering research funding for pneumonia (published in EBioMedicine), and also sexually-transmitted infections (published in the Journal of Global Health). Both papers are open-access.

Click here for the pneumonia paper.

Click here for the STIs paper.


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ResIn is recruiting!

The Research Investments in Global Health study is recruiting!

Research Fellow in infectious disease research investment analyses
Location:  Southampton General Hospital
Salary:   £28,695 to £35,256
Full Time Fixed Term
Closing Date:   Friday 28 August 2015


We wish to appoint a (non-laboratory) Research Fellow in infectious disease research investment analyses. The ResIn team (as of October 2015) will be led by Dr Stuart Clarke and based within the University of Southampton at Southampton General Hospital. The project has been awarded funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to collate funding data from the G20 countries relating to infectious diseases (in particular pneumonia and neonatal infection research) and to assess how much funding is awarded to each disease area, how well investment correlates with the burden of disease and to measure the impact and outputs of research.

This post provides an exciting opportunity for someone with an interest in infectious disease research. It will also be of interest to those who would enjoy building tools and analyses that will be useful in informing the decisions and priority-setting of high-ranking policymakers (e.g. the World Health Organisation), the world’s leading biomedical and health research funders, and individual research institutions, groups and societies and researchers.

Applications are invited from those with an interest in infectious diseases, health policy or disease burden measurement. Relevant experience of a systematic and detailed approach to carrying out research projects is essential.

Click here for more information and to apply.


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ResIn receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation!

We are delighted to announce that the Research Investments in Global Health study has received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a two year study. The award is for $586k (approximately £378k) and will expand on the UK analyses, and investigate infectious disease research investments (in particular pneumonia, and maternal & neonatal infections) across the G20 countries. We will continue to assess investment against metrics of the global and national burdens of disease, and we will also measure research outputs and the impact of research. The study will be based at the University of Southampton and led by Dr Stuart Clarke.

Pneumonia and maternal and neonatal infectious diseases (such as influenza, tetanus and respiratory syncytial virus) have been cited as priority areas by both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Gates Foundation. The 2013 Global Burden of Disease study estimated there to be 800,000 pneumonia deaths annually worldwide and the disease continues to be the number one infectious killer of children under the age of five, with more deaths than HIV, TB and malaria combined. This is despite the existence of lifesaving treatments and prevention measures, such as effective vaccines.

“The high disease burden, particularly amongst young and elderly populations in poor to middle income countries, could potentially be addressed by further investment in research,” says Dr Stuart Clarke from the University of Southampton’s Faculty of Medicine, who is leading the study.

“We will quantify the contribution of research funds that these infections receive compared to research involving other pathogens that are important in human health. This will give policy makers a comprehensive picture of where there’s been a lack of funding relative to the impact of the disease and help to set global research investment priorities,” Dr Clarke adds.

Based within the University’s Faculty of Medicine, the study also contributes to the Global Health Research Institute, headed by co-applicant Professor Marie-Louise Newell (also of Southampton). The findings will be compiled in an open-access database, creating a wealth of information for all funders, policymakers and researchers to view and apply to their own work.

Co-applicant and senior research fellow, Michael Head explains: “The database will allow funders to identify existing research in areas of mutual interest, help researchers identify collaborators, expertise and infrastructure, and support high-level policymakers (such as the WHO R&D Observatory) to identify funding trends and the relative value of investments in their areas of interest.”

The two year study will start in October 2015.

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‘Funding for infectious disease institutions’ paper published in JRSM Open

The latest publication to come out of the Research Investments in Global Health study is published today in JRSM Open. It covers the institutions that receive the funding and shows how for some disease areas, there are clear centres of excellence and some clear gaps in their portfolios.

The abstract is below, and see the full open access paper at the JRSM Open website.

Systematic analysis of funding awarded to inst
itutions in the United Kingdom for infectious disease research, 1997–2010

Objectives This study aimed to assess the research investments made to UK institutions for all infectious disease research and identify the direction of spend by institution.

Design Systematic analysis. Databases and websites were systematically searched for information on relevant studies funded for the period 1997–2010.

Setting UK institutions carrying out infectious disease research.

Participants None.

Main outcome measures Twenty academic institutions receiving greatest sum investments across infection are included here, also NHS sites, Sanger Institute, Health Protection Agency and the Medical Research Council. We measured total funding, median award size, disease areas and position of research along the R&D value chain.

Results Included institutions accounted for £2.1 billion across 5003 studies. Imperial College and University of Oxford received the most investment. Imperial College led the most studies. The Liverpool and London Schools of Tropical Medicine had highest median award size, whereas the NHS sites combined had many smaller studies. Sum NHS funding appears to be declining over time, whilst university income is relatively stable. Several institutions concentrate almost exclusively on pre-clinical research. In some areas, there is clearly a leading institution, e.g. Aberdeen and mycology research or UCL and antimicrobial resistance.

Conclusion UK institutions carry out research across a wide range of infectious disease areas. This analysis can identify centres of excellence and help inform future resource allocation for research priorities. Institutions can use this analysis for establishing expertise within their groups, identifying external collaborators and informing local research strategy.

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Watch video of ResIn data presented at BSAC meeting

ResIn co-founder Michael Head recently presented data on antimicrobial resistance research funding at a British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy meeting, taking place at the Wellcome Collection in London.

To see what Michael had to say, Click here to visit the website showing the talks presented at the meeting entitled ‘Re-stoking the therapy pipeline – How to stimulate the development of new antibiotics, diagnostics and novel therapies’.

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Update from ResIn

So the update analysis covering 2011-2013 is in full swing, we have written and submitted our first paper using that data (on HIV and other STIs). A norovirus paper shall be submitted soon and an overall summary paper is nearing completion and should be submitted well before Easter. A pneumonia investments paper is also a priority for us, as is an ebola research and implementation investments analysis. We are also beginning to look at ‘investments v research impact’, particularly in the area of bibliometrics, and exploring other areas of work and collaboration with national and international colleagues.


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