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Strategic for Research for the Benefit of Children’s Health

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), UCL Institute of Child Health (ICH), and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’ Charity (GOSHCC) Strategic for Research for the Benefit of Children’s Health

GOSH, with its academic partner, ICH, forms the largest concentration of child health research in Europe. External assessments indicate that GOSH/ICH are among the best-performing Child Health Research Centres in the world. The synergistic relationship between the two organisations and its partner charity, GOSHCC, have embedded and sustained this excellence. Within the UCL Partners (UCLP) Academic Health Science Centre, one of the six programmes addresses Child Health and here, GOSH and ICH are supporting activities to integrate research, education and clinical care, for the benefit of child health. This document sets out the fundamental pillars of the joint strategic vision and how it will be developed over the next five years.

Accelerating Translation

The three organisations are committed to ensuring that relevant scientific discoveries about mechanisms and potential therapies for childhood diseases are efficiently translated into clinical research programmes with studies to address prevention, diagnosis, safety and efficacy of new therapies. The GOSH/ICH Biomedical Research Centre’s strategy is focussed on the translation into early phase clinical studies and clinicians in GOSH, academics in ICH and the broader UCLP are committed to research which is needed to translate this work to broad benefit of the patients we serve and to the wider NHS. Reverse translation, for example, from the excellent Population Health Science in ICH, will ensure that insights provided by epidemiological studies, will generate hypotheses about mechanisms of disease, which can be investigated by scientists in the preclinical arena.

Interdisciplinarity

World-leading research requires collaboration between the best scientists, from all relevant disciplines, to address fundamental questions. Within ICH, there is a very broad spectrum of scientists, from those addressing basic mechanisms in the laboratory, to clinical and applied scientists, all focussed on Child Health; investigators across UCL, one of the top 20 universities in the world, hugely augment this expertise. Within GOSH, talented clinician-researchers are well-placed to identify key research questions and lead and participate in programmes to answer such questions. National and international collaborations are essential to this success; over half of our publications involve such collaborations and we are striving to build on this further.

Developing academic careers

Our most important resource is our people and ICH/GOSH attracts some of the best clinicians and scientists. However, despite their talent and passion for the science and the mission to improve Child Health, there are substantial challenges to pursuing an academic or research career and only the best and most committed will succeed. We wish to attract, nurture and support the best people in the world to enable us to deliver our research programmes. We will do this through a broad range of funding initiatives, with GOSHCC and other funders, including prestigious fellowships, comprehensive career development and mentorship and by ensuring a supportive environment which supports family-friendly working.

National and international partnership and leadership

Investment in child health research leads to benefits for life-long health and is a priority for the UK and internationally. However, child health research is given inadequate priority and is underfunded compared with research relevant to adults in hospitals and universities in the UK. Our national position gives us a responsibility to strive to enhance the quality and impact of Child Health Research nationally and internationally, in partnership with clinical and scientific colleagues elsewhere. Partnership with other funders, governmental and non-governmental organisations will enable us to work with others to ensure that child health research is given the priority, which it deserves.