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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

QMUL a partner in new world-leading health care improvement research institute

The Health Foundation, an independent charity, has today announced funding in the region of £40 million over a period of 10 years for the University of Cambridge to establish and run a new improvement research institute, the first of its kind in Europe.


Led by Mary Dixon-Woods, RAND Professor of Health Services Research and Wellcome Trust Investigator at the University of Cambridge, the institute will work closely with a wide range of partners across the UK including Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and East London NHS Trusts.

Seeking to strengthen the evidence-base for how to improve health care, it will produce practical, high quality learning about how to improve patient care and will grow capacity in research skills in the NHS, academia and beyond.

Professor Chris Griffiths from QMUL’s Centre for Primary Care and Public Health said: “Queen Mary University of London is delighted to partner with the University of Cambridge in this exciting venture. The Centre for Primary Care and Public Health will work closely with a range of national partners to deliver new quality improvement initiatives to improve the health of people across the NHS.”

Dr Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the Health Foundation, said: “Faster learning and discovery is vital to achieving higher quality health care for patients at a sustainable cost. That is why the Health Foundation is making its biggest single grant to date to help build the field of improvement research.

“The University of Cambridge and their partners have set out a compelling vision for this ground-breaking improvement research institute – the first of its kind in Europe. This is a significant and exciting step in developing evidence on a massive scale across the NHS about what works to improve patient care. Critically, the institute’s work will include understanding not only which interventions work, but also in which contexts and why.”

Mary Dixon-Woods, RAND Professor of Health Services Research and Wellcome Trust Investigator at the University of Cambridge, said: “The NHS, like health systems around the world, is faced with pressing challenges of quality and safety. Yet the science of how to make improvements has remained under-developed. This funding is a tremendous opportunity to produce new knowledge about how to improve care, experience and outcomes for patients. Together with our partners, the University of Cambridge is hugely excited at the chance to work with NHS staff, patients and carers to identify, design and test improvements.”

Funding the new institute is part of the Health Foundation’s ongoing work to bring about better health and health care for people in the UK and builds on the charity’s strong history of supporting and developing improvement research. The institute will formally launch within the next year.


Full list of Institute partners:

RAND Europe

University of Cambridge: Homerton College, The Engineering Design Centre, Department of Engineering, the Judge Business School, the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law, the Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences, the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities and the Centre for Science and Policy.

Professor Bill Lucas, Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester.

University of Aberdeen, Health Services Research Unit

University of Birmingham, Health Services Management Centre

Bradford Institute for Health Research

University College London, Clinical Operational Research Unit

London School of Economics, Health and Social Care

King’s College London, Centre for Implementation Science

King’s Improvement Science

University of Leicester, SAPPHIRE group

Cambridge University Hospitals Patient and Public Involvement in Research Panel

University of Nottingham, Centre for Health Innovation, Leadership and Learning (CHILL)

Queen Mary University of London, Centre for Primary Care and Public Health

University of Swansea, Centre for Improvement and Innovation

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

The Florence Nightingale Foundation

National Voices

Northern Ireland Department of Health

The Prompt Maternity Foundation


Collaborative Quality Improvement (QI)

The Point of Care Foundation

The McPin Foundation

UK Improvement Alliance

Health Education East of England