The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is set to invest £135 million in 15 new NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs).

The plan will join up some of the country’s best universities, leading innovators and local authorities to solve some of the biggest issues facing health and social care over the next five years.

The NIHR has announced that the funding has been awarded to 15 partnerships covering every area of England, made up of health and care providers, commissioners, local authorities, universities, private companies, charities, and academics, who will work together to address specific health or care issues in their region.

The ARCs scheme aims to “improve outcomes for patients and the public; improve the quality, delivery and efficiency of health and care services; and increase the sustainability of the health and care system both locally and nationally”, the organisation explained in a release.

A total of up to £15 million of additional NIHR funding will also be available to the ARCs to facilitate cross-ARC collaboration on identified national priorities for applied health and care research.

“As the population grows and demand on the NHS increases, it is paramount we develop the next generation of technologies and improve the way we work to ensure the NHS continues to offer world-leading care,” explained Health Minister Nicola Blackwood.

She continued, “The UK has a proud history of cutting edge health research and by supporting the great minds in health and social care, this funding has the potential to unlock solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing healthcare and revolutionise the way patients access treatments in the future.”

The new funding follows a number of successful projects by NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs), including research that led to the commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan of every woman receiving care from the same midwife during pregnancy, birth and postnatally by 2021.