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How we work

While each projects requirements and aims are outlined in the individual project scopes, our methods are guided by NICE guidance on technology appraisal and the methods of technology appraisals. To guarantee high quality outputs, we follow strict internal quality assurance guidance which are outlined in our Standards of Procedures (SOPs). We have further agreed a Research Strategy with our Advisory group, which is outlined below.

Research Strategy

Purpose of this strategy document

Priorities

Delivering on our core contract

Publishing in high impact journals

Achieving grant funding for secondary research

Achieving grant funding for primary research

Fostering specialist interests

Developing capacity

Improving relations

The future

Research Strategy

Warwick Evidence is a health services research unit with a primary focus on health technology assessment (HTA). Warwick Evidence undertakes reviews and evidence syntheses on the clinical and cost effectiveness of health care interventions for the NIHR HTA Programme and for a range of research funders and policy makers, including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). It is one of nine Technology Appraisal Review Teams who have contracts to deliver reviews for NICE and other NHS policy-making bodies. Our current contract runs from April 2016 to March 2021. Our high-level aim is to carry out research that will lead to improvements in health care, either directly by facilitating the introduction of cost-effective new treatments, or indirectly by restricting spending on interventions that are not cost effective in order to preserve funds for more useful forms of care.

Warwick Evidence’s priority function is to provide NICE with evidence for decisions on whether to recommend technologies (drugs, other treatments, devices and diagnostics) for use within the NHS. Each year Warwick Evidence delivers a mix of long and short Technology Appraisals for the NIHR HTA Programme, NICE and others such as the National Screening Committee.

Based in Warwick Medical School (WMS), Warwick Evidence brings together experts in clinical and cost effectiveness reviewing, epidemiology, health economics, public health, screening and diagnostics, psychology, statistics and modelling. The multidisciplinary team undertakes research collaboratively with several groups across WMS and departments at the University of Warwick and is supported by clinical and methodological advisors at both local and international level. We are an academic research group within the Populations, Evidence and Technologies grouping in the Division of Health Sciences. The Warwick Evidence research strategy has themes which match the wider divisional research strategy. Members of staff work together with groups such as the Warwick Clinical Trials Unit.

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Purpose of this strategy document

The purpose of this strategy is to encourage research excellence through:

  • A focus on key research areas
  • High quality research outputs
  • Optimum research impact

The research strategy aims to complement the wider strategies being developed in WMS. Our research strategy encourages us to identify and exploit opportunities to maximise grant income every year, as well as increase impact by publications and citations in peer reviewed journals. Our research development, training and findings will complement our undergraduate and post graduate teaching in WMS, and allow individuals to be referred to the REF (Research Excellence Framework) or equivalent.

The research strategy aims to complement the wider strategies being developed in WMS. Our research strategy encourages us to identify and exploit opportunities to maximise grant income every year, as well as to increase impact by publications and citations in peer reviewed journals. Our research development, training and findings will complement our undergraduate and post graduate teaching in WMS, and allow individuals to be referred to the REF (Research Excellence Framework) or equivalent.

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Priorities

Delivering on our core contract

We will deliver the requirements of our core contract with the NIHR HTA programme and the Department of Health, to produce technology assessment reports, to support NICE and other policy-making bodies; and similar reports for various clients, including the HTA Programme. We will aim to secure work from the HTA Programme in areas which reflect our interest and expertise. We aim to

  • To deliver all projects by agreed deadlines
  • To deliver all project reports to a high standard using the WE Quality Assurance process
    • All project reports are clear, easy to read, and with transparent reasoning. The language will be suitable for the intended audiences, usually the NICE Appraisal Committee
    • All project reports (and submitted material) will be planned, read, critically appraised and approved by a WE senior team member prior to submission
  • To respond promptly (with 3 working days) to all queries and requests for information from the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme or NICE
  • To deliver all projects within budget, or to negotiate uplifts where necessary and appropriate
  • To maintain and improve current levels of feedback received from NICE and the NIHR HTA programme

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Publishing in high impact journals

We aim to:

  • Publish papers that will be well cited and do well in future Research Excellence assessments
    • REF submissible staff to have 4 publications at 3* or above in each qualifying REF period
    • All research staff to have at least one publication a year (TAR and non-TAR)
  • Secure good citation rates for our publications
  • Publish technology appraisals where possible in the peer reviewed, high impact factor HTA monograph series
  • Where appropriate, publish peer-reviewed journal versions of both short and long technology appraisals
  • To maintain a high quality and up-to-date web presence
  • To maintain and expand the external impact of WE through press coverage and non-TAR publications

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Achieving grant funding for secondary research

We aim to achieve additional grant funding for secondary research, systematic reviews and meta-analyses in Substantive clinical areas. Current examples include:

  • A systematic review of interventions for post-natal depression
  • Joint work with the Warwick (Cochrane) Preventive heart group
  • Cochrane reviews on interventions for the primary prevention of coronary heart disease
  • Methodology. for example, bibliometrics, indirect comparisons, and survival modelling

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Achieving grant funding for primary research

We also aim to achieve grant funding in primary research. Examples where technology appraisals have led to collaborations in primary research include

  • The REPOSE trial of insulin pumps and structured education – one of our team helped draft the successful bid for this RCT (for over £2 million) and is deputy chief investigator in this multi-centre trial
  • The CLAHRC WM which involves a mix of secondary and primary research (2014-2019).
  • PEARL (Early Laser Treatment for Diabetic Eye Disease in China: A Pilot Randomized Trial)
  • DIAMONDS (Diabetic Macular Oedema and Diode Subthreshold micropulse laser)
  • EMERALD (Effectiveness of Multimodal imaging for the Evaluation of Retinal oedema And New vesseLs in Diabetic retinopathy)

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Fostering specialist interests

Members of Warwick Evidence have specialist interests, in topic areas such as diabetes or methodological areas such as network meta-analysis, survival analysis and diagnostic test accuracy. Other areas of interest and expertise include the use of evidence in health decision-making.

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Developing capacity

We need to produce not only research but researchers. We aim to increase capacity by training new researchers, and by developing the careers of our existing ones. We will seek to increase the number of PhD students and post–doc fellowships. We will also provide opportunities for public health and other clinical trainees and colleagues and those doing dissertations for post-graduate degrees to collaborate with us. Our aim is to ensure that ll staff are as highly skilled as possible to undertake their work. We run in-house training workshops (e.g. on Value-based pricing, NHS costing, Network meta-analysis, Survival analysis) and individual programmes of postgraduate training for researchers employed in Warwick Evidence.

  • All staff to have Annual Review plans to include research career and training planning, in line with WE and WMS ECR, and senior academic policies
  • All staff to have regular (at least fortnightly) line management meetings and access to mentoring
  • Team-wide training and education report to be made annually
  • Warwick Evidence to support at least one external fellowship application (or equivalent) per year
  • Succession plans to be in place for each post in WE
  • All staffing policies to be compliant with WMS’s Athena SWAN policies
  • To provide opportunities for public health and other clinical trainees and colleagues and those doing dissertations for postgraduate degrees to collaborate with us
  • To offer training to staff to ensure that all staff are as highly skilled as possible to undertake their work. We encourage staff to attend courses and run in-house training workshops (e.g. on Survival analysis, NHS costing, Network meta-analysis).
  • To report annually on team-wide training and education

RESEARCH EXCELLENCE FRAMEWORK (ref)

We aim to have all eligible members of staff submitted in the REF.

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Improving relations

To sustain and increase links across Warwick Medical School and the University of Warwick and associated local and national NHS partners and stakeholders related to health evidence, technology appraisal and assessment of cost effectiveness, clinical trials, economic modelling and knowledge diffusion and dissemination

  • To achieve at least one shared research grant and one publication per PI with other members of the university per annum
  • All staff to engage across the medical school/ university to undertake appropriate teaching or administrative activity to be agreed and assessed at annual appraisals
  • Senior staff to maintain at least one advisory, refereeing or reviewing role with relevant national stakeholders (e.g. NIHR HTA programme, NICE, NSC, PHE)

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The future

Our core programme grant runs until the end of March 2021.Renewal of the contract required a strong succession plan. Contingency planning is required so that we are prepared for retirements, promotions, secondments, maternity leave and ill health to ensure the work of the group is maintained at a high standard. This requires that

  • All routine activities to be covered by standard operating procedures (SOPs). All SOPs to be revisited biennially
  • Senior team to meet weekly to ensure timely and satisfactory management of all projects and programmes, finance, staffing, allocations and research activities
  • To keep accurate and timely financial records, and reported as required to DH
  • Advisory group composed of senior stakeholders to meet at least annually to ensure appropriate scrutiny of all aspect of management and governance of Warwick Evidence

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