The UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has expanded its network of Biomedical Research Units (BRUs) with the launch of three new units in Liverpool, London and Nottingham that will pursue translational research into heart disease, gastrointestinal conditions and liver disease.

The fresh crop of BRUs will join the twelve already created in Leeds, Nottingham, Oxford, London, Sheffield, Southampton, Bristol and Birmingham earlier this year, as well as complementing the 12 NIHR Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) established in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle in 2006.

As before, the BRUs are all partnerships between a National Health Service (NHS) Trust and a university. Specifically, Barts & The London NHS Trust has teamed up with Queen Mary, University of London for research into cardiovascular disease. Gastrointestinal (including liver) disease is the focus of partnerships between Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Nottingham; and between Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Liverpool.

Each of the new BRUs will receive government funding of £3.4 million (€4.29 million) over the next four years, “enabling these smaller, but excellent research groups to increase significantly their ability to undertake translational research”, said the Department of Health.

The network of BRUs is designed to address priority areas of ill-health and clinical need that have traditionally attracted relatively limited amounts of research funding. It is also part of a drive to ensure that the UK retains a leading position worldwide in biomedical research.