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Major New Global Brain Infections Project Launched

The University of Liverpool has secured £2 million from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to improve the management of devastating brain infections in low and middle income countries.

The three-year funding will establish a new NIHR Global Health Research Group on Brains Infections, which will be led by Professor Tom Solomon at the University’s Institute of Infection and Global Health, in partnership with seven leading research organisations, including Warwick Centre for Applied Health Research and Delivery (W-CAHRD).

Brain Infections Launch Meeting 19-20 June

Acute brain infections, such as meningitis and encephalitis, are a major cause of death and disability globally. There is relatively little global research expertise in tackling them. For many brain infections appropriate therapies exist, but doctors fail to diagnose, and thus treat them properly.

To tackle this, the new Global Health Research Group will link Liverpool, with its outstanding reputation in brain infections research, to the internationally renowned Warwick Centre for Applied Health Research and Delivery, and to leading research institutes in Malawi, India and Brazil. The overall aim is to improve the diagnosis of acute brain infections in adults and children in these countries, to guide treatment and improve outcomes.

Professor Solomon said: “It is a very exciting time to be working in this area. We believe by combining the most sophisticated molecular technologies to improve diagnosis, with some relatively simple changes in patient care we can have a marked impact on the management of patients with devastating brain infections, like meningitis and encephalitis.”

Dr Ava Easton of the Encephalitis Society, who is leading the Patient and Public Involvement Panel for the programme said: The Global Health Research Group on Brain Infections is such an exciting project. Infections continue to pose a significant public health risk. Every year we see lives and families devastated, and left to deal with the often left life-long consequences. Global collaborations like this bring together experts from their respective countries and I am very pleased to have been asked to drive the patient and public involvement element of the project.”

Professor Ravi Vasanthapuram Senior Professor and former Registrar at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience in Bangalore India said: “This new programme allows us to share our experiences with colleagues in Malawi and Brazil, through South-South partnerships, and devise new ways of tackling the problems common to all lower and middle income countries.”

An important part of this work is to provide training, guidance and support to the clinical teams in Low Income countries to undertake research in this severely neglected yet highly devastating area. Here The Global Health Network ( will be delivering training and enabling groups around the world who are working on Brain Infection to share knowledge and best practice. Professor Trudie Lang from the University of Oxford leads this element of the programme “we are delighted to be involved in this critical work. We aim to ensure that experts from wealthy countries share their methods and experience with those in low resource region as we know this will make gathering this life-saving data faster, easier and better. We also hope to encourage research places who have never conducted studies before by supporting and training them to do so, this way the evidence can be generated through this Global Health Research Group that can truly change outcomes for these patients”

Professor Louise Kenny, Executive Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Liverpool added “This award is hugely significant. It reflects the University of Liverpool’s international reputation in infection research and supports our long-standing collaborations with other leading researchers in India, Africa, and Brazil. A truly global partnership of outstanding researchers with the support of NIHR will undoubtedly have a major impact on the lives of people affected by these devastating conditions.”

A launch meeting for the Global Health Research Group was held on 19-20 June at the University of Liverpool in London, which brought together representatives from all partner institutions.

The consortium partners include Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (UK); Centre for Applied Health Research and Delivery, University of Warwick (UK); College of Medicine (Malawi); Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (Malawi); National Institute for Mental Health & Neuroscience (India); Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Brazil) and Christian Medical College Vellore (India).

For more information about the research programme please visit:

For more information on the NIHR awards please visit:

This press release was taken from:

International Funded PhD Studentships on Improving Health in Slums

Division of Health Sciences, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick and international partners within the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Improving Health in Slums

Our team, based at Warwick Medical School, are inviting applications for two international PhD studentships to study within the recently funded NIHR Global Health Research on Improving Health in Slums at the University of Warwick. This research programme aims to improve access to healthcare for people who live in slums in the following cities: Nairobi, Kenya; Lagos and Ibadan, Nigeria; Karachi, Pakistan and; Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The successful candidates will be part of a vibrant and expanding research team at the University of Warwick within the Division of Health Sciences. The studentship is part of an exciting international collaboration with the University of Ibadan, African Population and Health Research Center, Aga Khan University and the Independent University Bangladesh. Successful candidates will need the support of one of these international partners in order to apply for the studentship as they will undertake their fieldwork in a slum location in a partner country.

Some examples of projects that the successful candidate might want to undertake are detailed in the attached advertisement. Please note any ideas of your own are welcomed as long as it involves improving health in slums in the countries in which we are currently working.

The first academic supervisor will be based at the University of Warwick with a second supervisor based at an international partner institution (described above).

The successful candidate will be expected to start on 1st March 2018 and will be for 3 years. They will be required to spend a minimum of 12 weeks over the course of the study at the University of Warwick.

Candidate requirements:

• Applicants are required to have a Master’s degree (where they gained more than 60%) in either epidemiology or public health or social science or a similar subject is required.

• This studentship is available to international students and includes full fees for the successful candidates along with a tax free maintenance allowance in line with Research Council UK stipend (£14,539 for the year 2017/18).

• Applicants also need to have gained a score of 7.0 or more in the IELTS test. The IELTS test will be undertaken after a provisional offer to the successful candidate has been made.

Details on how to apply for the studentship can be found here. Applications must be submitted by 30th November 2017.

For queries, please contact Miss Jo Sartori on

Multi-million pound grant awarded to improve world slum healthcare

The University of Warwick is to receive more than £5million to find better ways of delivering healthcare to some of the world’s poorest people.

The National Institute of Health Research’s (NIHR) Global Health Research Unit on Improving Health in Slums has awarded the University’s Warwick Medical School £5,686,767 which will be match-funded by the University with £717,988.

The long-term aims of the project include finding the best ways to deliver healthcare to people living in slums in Asia and Africa and then to persuade and work with politicians and other officials to make these changes.

Nearly a billion people live in slums and these are growing as more people are born and move to cities. People living in slums have many of the health issues seen in the rural poor such as dangerous childbirth, malnutrition, infectious disease deaths, alongside increasing risk of diseases linked to cities including traffic accidents, violence, stroke, heart disease. Many of the world’s poorest people live in slums, over-crowded neighbourhoods often made up of makeshift or derelict housing, without running water or sanitation.

Richard Lilford who is Professor of Public Health and Pro-Dean (research) at Warwick Medical School is leading the research. He said: “Even if slum residents live close to health services, they can have difficulty getting needed care.

“There are many reasons for this. It can be because city authorities do not have the will or the resources to meet the needs of those living in the slums. It can also be because people living in slums can’t afford the cost of health care, or the time off work to seek care. “The result is that many people living in slums go to low quality or unqualified clinics, or to various places - such as clinics run by charities to tackle specific issues e.g. HIV - but without joined-up care. This has negative consequences for both individual and population health.”

The project team will map current health services and facilities and understand how these are used in six slums across Asia and Africa. They will identify the costs associated with how the health services run in each slum, including costs to the patients and their households. Looking to the long-term they will develop models of the health services and use these to look at ways of improving health service delivery. The expert team will plan their study so that even after the funding ceases future work will be possible. The project will result in detailed slum maps, which have already been demonstrated to support health service delivery by aid organisations during health crises such as cholera outbreaks. They will also develop knowledge of current demand and supply of health services in slums vital to planning future services.

Policy-makers will be able to use the body of evidence on health service delivery relevant to slum populations, so they can learn what is happening in this area globally and so good practice can be shared and failures are not duplicated.

Professor Lilford added: “Improving health services in slums will have a large impact on health in low and middle income countries. Because slums are overcrowded, better health services could benefit many people at once. Our unit will aim to make progress in this direction.”

“Our outputs will support improvements in the organisation and effectiveness of health services, thereby delivering measurable benefits to one of the world’s most vulnerable population groups.”

The professor has previously directed large research units and his team has experience conducting global health research and shaping policy and practice. They will work alongside partners in other academic institutions including the African Population and Health Research Centre in Kenya, University of Ibadan in Nigeria, The Aga Khan University in Pakistan and the Independent University Bangladesh and policy organisations and slum communities.

The University’s project will run until 31st March 2021. The money has been awarded to Warwick Medical School and the University’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies.

The grant is a result of the 2016 NIHR invitation to UK-based universities and research institutes to submit applications to deliver applied global health research. Sixty million was made available for successful universities and research institutes looking to expand their existing global health work or for new entrants to the field.

Lancet series on Slum Health - October 2016:

The history, geography, and sociology of slums and the health problems of people who live in slums.

Improving the health and welfare of people who live in slums.

Follow the link to watch Oyinlola Oyebode talking about the papers.

British Medical Journal:

BMJ confidential - Richard Lilford: hates non-sequiturs at dinner parties:

Richard Lilford view the article


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As part of the Warwick 50th anniversary celebrations, Richard recently participated in a panel debate looking at the future of medicine. Highlights of the event can be viewed by clicking on the image below:

Future of medicine event