NIHR Bristol BRC Director’s Fund award for three new research projects

  • 14 December 2023

Three new research projects have secured funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Bristol Biomedical Research Centre’s (Bristol BRC) Director’s fund. The Director’s Fund supports exciting new projects across all our research themes which we hope will be developed into something that could directly benefit patients.

Charlotte Archer from the mental health theme, Daisy Elliott from the surgical and orthopaedic innovation theme and Sally Barber from the diet and physical activity theme were awarded funds to carry out work on online activity and mental health in young people, optimising how a new type of chemotherapy is delivered and tackling ethnic inequalities in childhood obesity.

Congratulations Charlotte, Daisy and Sally!

New Director’s Fund projects

Discussing online activity and mental health with young people in primary care

Young people – aged 16-24 – are more likely to use digital technology for activities such as work, health consultations, and social media. Some online activity can help young people’s mental health, but there can also be unintended harms, such as disordered eating, self-harm behaviours, reduced sleep quality and isolation.

Charlotte and her team will speak with primary care therapists, GPs, wellbeing coaches and nurses about their experiences of discussing the impact of online activity on mental health with young people. This will help researchers identify practitioner training needs and inform work to co-develop a training package that can be used in primary care settings.

Qualitative interviews to optimise the delivery of an innovative method of delivering chemotherapy within a phase II surgical trial

Bowel, ovarian and stomach cancer often spreads (metastasises) to the lining (peritoneum) of the abdominal cavity. Pressurised Intra Peritoneal Aerosolised Chemotherapy (PIPAC) is new way of delivering chemotherapy directly into the peritoneal cavity in the form of an aerosol delivered during minimally invasive (keyhole) surgery.

During this study, researchers will interview surgical teams to understand their experiences of PIPAC, current practice and views on how it is delivered in the UK and abroad. They will pay particular attention to risks in the operating theatre and practical strategies to mitigate these.

Working with Islamic religious settings to tackle ethnic inequalities in childhood obesity

Since 2017 a team of researchers from Bradford have been exploring whether Islamic settings could be used to play a role in childhood obesity prevention. Previous research has shown that Islamic leaders, staff, and parents are supportive of delivering health interventions through Islamic settings.

This previous work resulted in the development of a programme called ‘Madrasah’s Living Well’. The programme aims to help organisations and people change their behaviour. It supports healthy eating, physical activity and obesity prevention in South Asian Muslim children.

Researchers at Bristol’s BRC will now explore how the Madrasah’s Living Well Programme could be modified to be delivered within Bristol, where the proportion of people from the Muslim faith is lower and where the ethnic demographics are different.

Professor Jonathan Sterne, Bristol BRC Director, said:

“We are delighted to be able to support three exciting new projects through the Bristol BRC Director’s Fund. We are especially pleased that this year’s awards have been able to fund the work of some of our early career researchers.

“The projects selected to receive funding this year showcase the breadth of our work here at the BRC. They show our commitment to addressing health inequalities and exploring how healthcare could be improved through research.”