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1st October 2021

Almost £6.5million awarded to life saving research in Wales

Health and Care Research Wales announces the recipients of its 2020-21 funding call awards, with key investments researching topics from sun safety policies in primary schools to the impact of COVID-19 on people with epilepsy.

As a result of the funding calls launched last year, 23 new funding awards have been granted with a combined lifetime value of over £6.3million.

Funding high quality research projects

Four grant schemes were available:

  • Social Care Research Fellowships
  • Health Research Grants
  • Research for Patient and Public Benefit
  • Social Care PhD Studentships

The schemes offer varying levels of support in order to address different research needs. For example, the Research Funding Scheme: Health Research Grants support high-quality research projects relevant to health and wellbeing needs, whereas the Social Care Research Fellowships offer talented individuals the opportunity to become independent researchers.

Investing in Welsh talent

In addition to the grant schemes, Health and Care Research Wales has also funded one Fellowship and two Advanced Fellowship awards following successful applications from Wales-based researchers, Leigh Sanyaolu, Victoria Shepherd and Claudia Metzler-Baddeley to the competitive National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Fellowship Programme. These awards total £2m of additional investment and position Wales as a hub of life-changing research in the UK.

Michael Bowdery, Head of Programmes, Health and Care Research Wales, said:“As always, the standard of applications was very high this year. We’re pleased with the range of important topic areas these awards cover, including investigations into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in a variety of settings. Investing in research and our researchers is vital to our goal, to boost the health and prosperity of people in Wales.”

A full list of funding awards and recipients is below:

Social Care Research Fellowships

Providing talented individuals the support they need to become independent researchers while undertaking high quality research projects benefiting social care in Wales.

  • Dr Helen Hodges, Cardiff University

Linking survey and administrative data to enhance understandings of risky behaviours and potential protective factors in children receiving social care: A feasibility study

  • Dr Simon Read, Swansea University

Determining Best Preventative Social Care Practice in the Contexts of Older People Receiving Care and Support at Home and Those Living with Dementia

  • Dr Phillip Smith, Cardiff University

Leaving a pupil referral unit: Exploring the transitions and post-16 destinations of care experienced young people across Wales

  • Dr Sarah Thompson, Cardiff University

How can we improve the experiences and outcomes of autistic children in care? A mixed methods study of needs, services, and good practice

Research Funding Scheme: Health Research Grants

Supporting high-quality research projects with clear relevance to health and wellbeing need and/or the organisation and delivery of health care services in Wales.

  • Mark Davies, Swansea Bay University Health Board

Using machine learning to predict subclone evolution and response during chemotherapy

  • Rachel Errington, Cardiff University

Precision Oncology: A novel approach to modelling neuroblastoma and specific treatment as its underlying genetic abnormalities changes during a patients treatment

  • Richard Fry, Swansea University

Mapping service cold spots from COVID-19 lockdowns

  • Lim Jones, Public Health Wales

The epidemiology and impact of bacterial secondary infections and antimicrobial resistance on Intensive Care during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

  • Mari Jones, Swansea University

Learning from the national management of the pandemic: The health economic impact of COVID-19 on care and support for people over 65 years old

  • Julie Peconi, Swansea University

Sunproofed: A mixed methods evaluation of sun safety policies in primary schools in Wales

  • William Pickrell, Swansea University

The impact of COVID-19 on health equality and mortality in people with epilepsy in Wales

  • Rebecca Thomas, Swansea University

The impact of cessation of screening for diabetic eye disease on people with diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Joanna Zabkiewicz, Cardiff University

Investigating Immune cell fitness to determine patient response to Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)T-Cell therapy

Research for Patient and Public Benefit (RfPPB) Wales

Funding research related to the day-to-day practice of the health service, with clearly defined patient and public benefit.

  • Ceri Battle, Swansea Bay University Health Board

Clinical and cost effectiveness of an early exercise programme on chronic pain and health-related quality of life following blunt chest wall trauma: A parallel, randomised controlled trial (ELECT2 trial)

  • Kate Button, Cardiff & Vale University Health Board

A randomised controlled feasibility study of TRAK musculoskeletal digital self-management physio-therapy intervention for individuals with musculoskeletal pain

  • Simon Noble, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Hospital Deep Vein Thrombosis Detection Study in Cancer Patients Receiving Palliative Care (HIDDEN 2)

  • Dr Gareth Roberts, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Protocol for a Realist and Social Return on Investment evaluation of the use of Patient Reported Outcomes in Value Based Healthcare Programme

Health and Care Research Wales NIHR Fellowship

Supporting individuals on their trajectory to becoming future leaders in research. Health and Care Research Wales takes on the funding and management of successful applications to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Fellowship Programme.

Advanced Fellowship:

  • Victoria Shepherd, Cardiff University

Deciding about research for others: a feasibility study and effectiveness trial of a novel decision support intervention for consultees and legal representatives of adults lacking capacity to consent (CONSULT)

  • Claudia Metzler-Baddeley, Cardiff University

Development and feasibility randomised controlled pilot study of HD-DRUM – a novel motor sequence training app for people with Huntington’s disease


  • Leigh Sanyaolu, Cardiff University

IMproving Prophylactic Antibiotic use for Recurrent urinary Tract infection (IMPART): mixed-methods study to address evidence gaps and develop a decision aid)

Social Care PhD Studentships

Supporting capacity building in social care research by offering talented individuals the opportunity to undertake research and study leading to a PhD Applications come from proposed PhD supervisors.

  • Mark Davies / Carolyn Wallace, University of South Wales

Developing a Training Pack-age for Link Workers in Wales using a Realist Approach

  • Rachel Rahman, Aberystwyth University

How living in rural areas con-tributes to feelings of loneliness in diverse rural communities, and the role communities play in addressing social inequality

  • Fiona Wood, Cardiff University

Engaging care home residents in research: identification of barriers and facilitators and the development of an intervention to support residents in decision-making and advance planning for research (EN-GAGE Study)