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.
REF Impact Case Studies
Demonstrating Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research (PIHR) knowledge mobilisation impact through REF Impact Case Studies
PIHR case study examples
Andrade’s work shows how research on consciousness can lead to real-world changes in medical practice (anaesthesia).
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.
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.
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:
- Andrade, Asthana and Edworthy, elected as Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences.
- Carroll led a prize winning team at the 2019 UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network awards.
- Cramp has been recognised at the 2021 UK Awards for Excellence in Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation.
- Edworthy was selected by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society as the recipient of the Society’s Hal W Hendrick Distinguished International Colleague Award 2020 for her ‘outstanding contributions to the human factors/ergonomics field’.
- Hickson has been awarded two Rolls of Honour for her contribution to British Dietetic Association research as well as the Rose Simmon’s award for published work (with Collinson and Child).
- Hu’s work showing novel molecular tuning mechanism for stem cell fate control has been globally reported by more than 100 media. His EMBO J (2019) paper was selected by the GE Reports as one of the ‘5 Coolest Things on Earth This Week’.
- Joshi was recognised as the ‘Jewel of India’ by the Indian government for her international impact in the field of molecular microbiology.
- Martin received the Physiological Society Annual Public Lecture Award (2018) and Royal College of Anaesthetists, Macintosh Professorship (2019) for work on the effect of oxygen on perioperative and critically ill patients.
- Upton, Warburton and Joshi were shortlisted in 2018 for an Antibiotic Guardian Award in Public Engagement in World Antibiotic Awareness activities.
- Witton has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health
- Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise was a finalist in the 2020 NHS Parliamentary awards.
- Gale won the International Teaching Innovation Award from the Association for Medical Education in Europe (2016), for improving capabilities of healthcare workers in West Africa to respond to the Ebola Crisis.