By Professor Nishan Canagarajah is President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester
A happy – and healthy – New Year to you all!
I have always believed that together, we are stronger. That is why working in partnership with organisations in the city and counties of Leicestershire and Rutland is key to our prosperity in the future. The University of Leicester is committed, as part of its strategy, to forge strategic partnerships where it leads to the betterment of society.
Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the areas of health where our collaborative approach is having a real world impact on people in this city and counties.
Here are just a few examples of how we are making a difference:
- Our University’s response and contribution during and since the pandemic was significant. We ranked in the top three universities in the UK for funding for COVID-19 research – behind only Oxford and Cambridge. We were the first to highlight the impact of the virus on minority ethnic groups and make these findings known to the Government’s SAGE committee. And now, we are leading the UK’s major £8.4 million national study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients – so called Long COVID.
- The award of over £26million by the National Institute for Health and Care Research to establish the Leicester Biomedical Research Centre is evidence of how partnerships in health can make a difference. It brings together clinicians and academics from the University of Leicester, Leicester’s hospitals, Loughborough University and University Hospitals of Northamptonshire NHS Group. Together we will develop groundbreaking treatments, diagnostics, prevention and care for people who have a wide range of diseases. Given the fact Leicester is among the most plural cities in Britain, we are uniquely well placed to tackle issues relating to health disparities and inequalities through our connected work with hospitals and other agencies.
- We have launched five ambitious new Research Institutes to tackle the most pressing challenges facing the world, from the climate crisis, future-proofing the cultural sector, harnessing the potential of space, and researching new and current threats to our health. These new Research Institutes are the University’s interdisciplinary flagships that bring together researchers from many different disciplines to study a common theme or area of endeavour.
- Our work is making a difference here and abroad. Experts from our University and the Public Health Foundation of India have been awarded a prestigious grant of nearly £10 million to help improve the care outcomes of people living with multiple long-term health conditions or multimorbidity in India and Nepal. In the long-term, the university will work with the UK, Indian and Nepal governments to improve the health outcomes of those with multimorbidity, as well as create a self-sustaining international Centre for improving management of multiple long-term conditions and disseminate outputs globally. As part of the project, 34 places on master’s degrees and PhDs as well as fourteen post-doctoral placements will be available in Leicester, Birmingham or Brunel. In addition, University of Leicester staff with colleagues from India will deliver short courses to approximately 400 participants.
Universities like Leicester are working tirelessly to bring positive change in society. We literally change lives and through our partnership approach, we improve the health of the nation.