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The University of Southampton

Public Health Minister opens Southampton-based research management centre

Published: 14 October 2008
Dawn Primarolo MP, with Professor
Minister opens NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC)

The Rt Hon Dawn Primarolo MP, Minister of State for Public Health, and Professor Sally C Davies, Director General of Research and Development, have today visited the University of Southampton Science Park to open a new research management centre, the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC), and announce the launch of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services Research programme.

They were received for the ceremony by staff from NETSCC, together with Professor Adam Wheeler, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, and Professor Iain Cameron, Head of the University's School of Medicine.

NETSCC has been created to provide a single research management centre to meet the needs of the research programmes it coordinates, and to ensure scientific quality in all aspects of the research management process. NIHR funded research programmes managed by NETSCC include the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme, the Public Health Research (PHR) programme, the Service Delivery and Organisation (SDO) programme (from April 2009), and the newly created Health Services Research (HSR) programme. NETSCC also coordinates the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) programme which was established as part of the new NIHR and Medical Research Council coordinated strategy for clinical trials.

The HSR programme will provide funding across the country for a broader range of health services research than is already covered by other NIHR programmes. The funding available for the programme will be up to £5 million and it is intended to lead to an increase in service quality and patient safety through improved ways of planning and providing health services.

"It has been an honour to come and officially open the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre and to learn more about the important work of its programmes," said Dawn Primarolo. "The new centre is essential in helping us to create a health research system in which the NHS supports outstanding individuals, working in world-class facilities, conducting leading-edge research focused on the needs of patients and the public. The Government is committed to making the UK the best place in the world for health research and both NETSCC and the programmes it manages are vital in helping to achieve this."

In addition to the opening of the new centre, the visit also acknowledged the achievements and new opportunities of the HTA programme, the largest and longest running of NIHR's national research programmes. The HTA programme is currently going through a period of rapid expansion following an increase in budget to £80 million a year.

The creation of NETSCC, the new programmes, and the expansion of the HTA programme has also brought a large number of recruitment opportunities to the Southampton area. For more details visit .

Notes for editors

  • * The HTA programme is a programme of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and produces high-quality research information about the effectiveness, costs, and broader impact of health technologies for those who use, manage and provide care in the NHS. It is the largest of the NIHR programmes and publishes the results of its research in the Health Technology Assessment journal, with over 440 issues published to date. The journal's 2007 Impact Factor (3.87) ranked it in the top 10 per cent of medical and health-related journals. All issues are available for download free of charge from the website,

    * The EME programme is managed by the NIHR as the lead organisation for clinical trials and evaluation, and funded by the MRC. It is broadly aimed at supporting 'science driven' studies with an expectation of substantial health gain. It aims to support excellent clinical science with an ultimate view to improving health or patient care. It was launched in April 2008 and has a budget of around £15m. Visit

    * The PHR programme launching in Autumn 2008 will evaluate public health interventions, providing new knowledge on the benefits, costs, acceptability and wider impacts of non-NHS interventions intended to improve the health of the public and reduce inequalities in health. The scope of the programme will be multi-disciplinary and broad covering a range of public health interventions. Visit

    * The SDO programme will join NETSCC in April 2009. It aims to improve health outcomes for people by commissioning research evidence that improves practice in relation to the organisation and delivery of healthcare. Funding for the programme will be around £12m. Visit

    * The HSR programme launched in October 2008 will provide funding across the country for a broader range of health services research than is already run by the NIHR. Visit

    * The National Institute for Health Research provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world-class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading-edge research focused on the needs of patients. Visit

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