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Royal Manchester Children's Hospital named Britain's best clinical research site

A specialist research team based at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital (RMCH), beat nine other finalists to be named Clinical Research Site of the Year in the prestigious Pharma Times Awards.

The team was made up of representatives from the NIHR/Wellcome Trust Children's Clinical Research Facility (NIHR/WT CCRF) and the Medicines for Children Research Network, both based at RMCH.

The NIHR/WT CCRF was the first such unit in the North West and is one of only a small number across the UK.  It opened in November 2009 and carries out all types of clinical research, working closely with children and their families.  It focuses particularly on testing new medicines to ensure that they are safe and effective in children of all ages.  The unit is supported by the Medicines for Children Research Network, which works alongside local healthcare professionals to conduct clinical trials and other research studies in babies, children and young people.

(L-R) Dr Louise Leong, Head of R+D ABPI, Dr Clare Morgan, NIHR Dr Nicholas Webb, Consultant Paediatric Nephrologist, RMCH Laura Crowther, Senior Clinical Trials Administrator, RMCH Carol Beane, Paediatric Oncology Research Nurse Specialist, RMCH

Carole Beane, Laura Crowther and Dr Nick Webb received the award, representing the rest of the RMCH team which also included Sarah Ehtisham, Sarah Rickard,  Kathryn McBride and Jess Nichols.  The award was jointly sponsored by the Department of Health's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), and was presented at a ceremony in London.  The team received a trophy and a cheque for £500 to spend on research activity.

The RMCH team was one of ten shortlisted finalists for the award, chosen from among 40 entries.  Sean Morgan-Jones from competition organisers Pharma Times commended them on their achievement.  "The category winners have demonstrated their talents and skills in delivering clinical trials, and the success of all the top ten sites waves a flag for the whole NHS and the UK as a great place to do research."

The NIHR/WT CCRF is run by a team of doctors, nurses and researchers in paediatric experimental medicine from Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and The University of Manchester.  It is currently participating in more than 30 global trials of new drug treatments, including pioneering therapies for genetic conditions and diseases affecting the kidneys.

Bob Pearson, Medical Director at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, congratulated the winning team:  "This award is national recognition of the fantastic research work going on in Manchester.  It's a testament to the strong partnership between the Trust and University, and to the huge contribution that young patients being treated at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and their families make to helping other sick children."

Dr Louise Wood, Deputy Director, Research Infrastructure and Growth, Research & Development Directorate at the Department of Health said:  "The Research Site of the Year competition is important because it demonstrates the progress being made by the NHS in initiating and delivering commercial research.

"The joint sponsorship of the award by the NIHR and ABPI reflects the partnership working between industry and the NHS, which we believe will maximise the opportunities and impact of NIHR investment in research infrastructure, the processes and tools we've co-developed with industry, and the appetite of the NHS to engage in research, which is increasing at pace."

Other award categories in the competition included Clinical Trial Administrator, Clinical Research Associate, Project Manager, Team Leader, and Clinical Research Team of the year.