REF Impact Case Studies

Demonstrating Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research (PIHR) knowledge mobilisation impact through REF Impact Case Studies

The Research Excellence Framework is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. As part of this system, universities are required to submit ‘impact case studies’ to demonstrate the impact of their research on wider economy and society.

PIHR case study examples

Andrade’s work shows how research on consciousness can lead to real-world changes in medical practice (anaesthesia).

Asthana and Gibson have challenged longstanding and taken-for-granted assumptions around health funding which has resulted in a major redistribution of NHS funding.

Buckhurst’s work on intraocular lens assessment and ophthalmic instrumentation has produced new image analysis methods for assessing the stability of intraocular lenses implanted during cataract surgery, which have been used in clinical trials leading to FDA approval.

Bryce and colleagues have identified critical challenges presented by the implementation of medical revalidation, including doctors’ difficulties in collecting supporting information and variation in local requirements and decision-making processes. In response to these findings, the General Medical Council clarified its requirements and made changes to its guidance documents.

Cramp’s work has influenced NICE guidelines for the treatment of Hepatitis C by showing that specific anti-virals cure Hepatitis C infection in over 95% of cases.

Freeman’s development of an innovative pelvic orthotic product for pelvic girdle dysfunction has enhanced sporting performance, for example in medal winning Paralympian sports as diverse as athletics, paracycling and canoeing. The product has also improved pain control for pregnant women.

Hobarts’ research programme focuses on the development of Patient Reported Outcome measures (PROs) for clinical research, trials and drug licensing. The scales he has developed for assessing Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are among a limited number contained in the United States Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) compendium of Clinical Outcomes Assessments. Since 2014 Hobart has developed new scales in MS and Stroke and worked as part of the LORA group to support scale development in dermatology (hyperhidrosis), urology (nocturia) and haematology (sickle cell symptom severity).

The Severe Asthma Questionnaire (SAQ) developed by Jones, Hyland, Lanario and colleagues has become a key measure of quality of life in leading severe asthma services across Europe. It is also included in the International Severe Asthma Registry (ISAR) which receives data from over 22 countries and creates a data platform that is used in a range of commercially sponsored studies.

The Empowerment of Parents in the Intensive Care (EMPATHIC) outcome measures led by Latour has international recognition; the EMPATHIC instruments in neonatal intensive care have been listed as the gold standard in the European Standards of Care in Newborn Health presented to the European Commission (2018). The EMPATHIC instruments have been translated and validated in several languages (Chinese, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Turkish, Arabic) and are used in over 40 countries where in some cases they are the national standard quality indicator in paediatric critical care medicine.

Lloyd’s work on co-ordinated, person-centered healthcare has led to changes in government policy and health service practice.

Nasser identifies and evaluates methods to ensure resources are allocated to research projects that are relevant to stakeholders, meet high scientific quality standards and avoid wasteful investment. These innovative methods have been incorporated into guidelines of the World Health Organisation and Cochrane.

Roobottom’s work has led to NICE recommending Cardiac Computed Tomographic Angiography as the primary diagnostic tool for all chest-pain patients in the UK, 340,000 patients per annum.

Rule has shown that specific novel therapies for Mantle Cell lymphoma double mean life expectancy, leading to international licensing (90 countries worldwide) with over 200,000 patients worldwide treated.

Pathway stories

While PIHR ranges from basic research (Discovery) to developing novel Interventions (Translation) and evaluating novel ways of delivering care to the most vulnerable people in society (Community), some of our researchers work across this spectrum (from discovery to application ).

Examples include our  Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence 

PIHR also hosts one of the 3 UK Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence. Led by Oliver Hanemann, the Research Centre at the University of Plymouth focuses on low grade brain tumours and progression to higher grade, and comprises the Hanemann, Parkinson and Barros teams. It has strong links to patients, family and the wider community promoting awareness and engagement, and works together with NHS Hospitals.

Supporting patients at-risk of diabetic foot ulcers

Wearing insoles can help reduce the risk of diabetic foot ulcers, a condition affecting an estimated 64,000 people in the UK, which can lead to amputation or even death. However various issues including difficulties and delays in finding suitable insoles and low patient use, mean they aren't always as effective as they could be. Researchers in the Institute's Balance Enhancement and Ulcer Prevention group have been investigating the reasons behind low insole use and effectiveness, as well as developing and implementing interventions to support patients at a local, national and international level. Read the full story. 

Honours and prizes

It is always great when members of PIHR get the recognition they deserve for the hard work they do.

Some examples include: