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Spotlight on: Collaboration and Development Forum

Last updated on 4 Aug 2017

We are an organisation committed to collaboration – listening to and working with others to identify and make improvements to the health research environment.

A key way we do this is through hosting a quarterly Collaboration and Development (C&D) Forum.

The group has a mix of stakeholders, including funders, industry, regulators, academics and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Teresa Allen

Teresa Allen, HRA Interim Chief Executive, said: “The C&D Forum acts as a catalyst, giving opportunities for members to share ongoing initiatives that are in development.

“By discussing work that is at an early stage organisations can align and collaborate on similar work which reduces potential duplication, or enables members to support and endorse each other’s activities.”

Members share written updates ahead of the meeting and guest speakers are invited to share their work in a specific area.

At the most recent meeting on 11 July, we discussed our refreshed strategic aims, our UK-wide compatibility work and new eLearning modules.

The theme of the meeting was ‘waste’, with representatives from the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit discussing the challenges and efficiencies of platform trials and NHS England presenting on future-focused finance.

Other partners also discussed initiatives they have implemented to improve efficiency:

  • The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), which has launched a Library of Initiatives for Novel Collaborations (LINC) – a resource for linking expertise.
  • The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) discussed how it is developing an open research platform to assist with access to raw data for secondary analysis,
  • The Wellcome Trust has a similar open research platform up and running and is also providing support and training for grant holders in different way to disseminate their findings.

Dr Beth Thompson, Wellcome Trust Head of Policy – UK/EU said: “The health research system is complex and it’s easy to get lost in the details. The C&D Forum provides a way to keep the bigger picture in view, to see changes in context and to learn from others, so that member organisations are better informed to make effective changes.

“It helps us keep up to date with developments from the HRA and other stakeholders and informs our policy work on the regulation and governance of health research.

“It also feeds into our science and innovations teams so that staff are better informed about the environment our researchers are working in.

“Challenges in the health research system can’t be tackled by any one stakeholder alone, it’s therefore vital we share information and collaborate, and the C&D Forum gives us a great platform to do this.”

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