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The William Harvey Research Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Queen Mary researchers win PPEF Silver Jubilee Award to investigate best physiotherapy practice for common musculoskeletal conditions

Researchers from the Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, have been awarded a £500,000 grant from the Private Physiotherapy Educational Foundation (PPEF) for an innovative 3-year research programme. The project aims to integrate research, education, and innovation to define and disseminate best practice for common musculoskeletal conditions.


The PPEF Silver Jubilee Award, a one-time multi-year grant, celebrates the Foundation's 25th anniversary in 2026. The winning research proposal, titled "Data-to-Practice: Defining and Translating Best Physiotherapy Practice for Common Musculoskeletal Conditions," is set to commence in early 2024.

We spoke to Dylan Morrissey, Professor of Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy at Queen Mary University of London, to learn more about the programme.

Please can you provide an overview of your research proposal?

The PPEF main objective for this silver jubilee funding call is: “the advancement of research and education in the field of physiotherapy for the benefit of the public”.
Diseases of joints, muscles, and tendons (musculoskeletal conditions) are common and can be hard to treat. A lot of good research has been conducted on musculoskeletal conditions. However, there is a big delay between research being completed and changes in clinical care. In this project we will develop novel best practice guides for 6 common conditions. We will make the guides widely and freely available to benefit clinical care.  

This research will combine evidence reviews with interviews of world experts and patients. The evidence reviews will examine research papers to identify what treatments work. The interviews will add valuable information on how the treatments should be delivered. We will involve stakeholders (patients and physiotherapists) in our work throughout the three-year work programme.   

We have already produced best practice guides successfully for two common conditions (heel pain and knee pain). We will create educational resources for all 8 conditions. These will be freely available online so physiotherapists and patients can use the findings. We will promote the findings widely, including on social media. This should mean rapid translation of research findings into practice, for the benefit of patients everywhere. 

How will this research impact the field of physiotherapy?

In essence, our team possesses the knowledge and expertise to collect and synthesize data into clinically relevant content. We aim to provide high-quality educational resources that guide clinicians in incorporating new knowledge into practice. Leveraging lessons learned during the pandemic, we will disseminate findings widely, rapidly translating research into practice for the benefit of patients worldwide.

What are the next steps?

Our immediate focus is recruiting two post-doctoral researchers and initiating the project. Additionally, we plan to publish the knee pain guide in early 2024, marking a significant milestone in our endeavour.

What does the award mean for the Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine at Queen Mary University of London?

For the Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine, this award signifies an opportunity to build on our groundbreaking approach and bring substantial improvements to the management of common musculoskeletal conditions. It will be three years of challenging yet immensely rewarding work, and we are eagerly anticipating the journey.

This collaborative project involves Queen Mary University of London, Barts Health NHS Trust, Robert Gordon University, University of Essex, University of Canberra, and Pure Sports Medicine.

Further information

Applications are invited for the position of Postdoctoral Research Assistant to join the Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine at Queen Mary University of London.

The job will contribute to setting up and delivering D2P Data-to-practice, a three-year research programme of work Data-to-Practice will define and translate best physiotherapy practice for six common musculoskeletal conditions using mixed-methods for an evidence translation programme.

The application deadline is 15th February 2024. Find out more, including how to apply




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