NIHR Norfolk CRF showcase

A special event showcasing the NIHR Norfolk Clinical Research Facility (CRF) was held last week.

Colleagues and strategic partners from around the region found out more about the types of research carried out in our world-class facilities.

Dr Jenny Longmore, Director of Research Operations, opened the event by highlighting the CRF’s partnerships with other members of Norwich Research Park, reviewing the Trust’s five-year research strategy and discussing our ambition for growth.

In September 2022, NNUH was awarded funding by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), alongside 27 others in the country, to expand the delivery of early phase clinical trials, experimental medicine and translational research. We specialise in neonatal research, early phase clinical trials and microbiome research.

Research carried out in the CRF located in the Quadram Building (CRF-QI) covers a broad of range specialities such as gastroenterology, hepatology, diabetes, endocrinology, cardiology, orthopaedics and respiratory and also clinical research studies led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Quadram Institute Bioscience. In the main hospital building, there is research taking place across all Divisions, including cancer and neonatal intensive care.

8Felicia Rowe, CRF Operations Manager, gave tours of the CRF-QI, a dedicated purpose-built out-patient facility located at the Quadram Institute. There are eight clinic rooms, one of which is for paediatric patients, and two of which are ensuite, in addition to a six-bedded bay.

Felicia said: “Last year we were visited by members of NIHR and Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) who were very impressed with the facility, the NRP campus location and the quality of service delivery. We’re incredibly lucky our consultants can see patients in these facilities, which provide great patient experience. We also have a large back-office space, there’s a well-equipped clinical laboratory with four centrifuges, a -80C freezer (for vaccine storage) plus a local pharmacy to dispense trial drugs. We’re now able to store both liquid and capsules form faecal microbiota for transplantation research, which is one of requirements to becoming a centre of excellence in this area.”

2Visitors from the James Page, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and other NHS and industry partners from across the region attended the event. They explored stands showcasing current and completed research studies from NICU and Paediatrics, early phase clinical trials plus stands about the NRP Biorepository, food, microbiome and health studies at Quadram Institute Bioscience, UEA research and research at Cromer Hospital. Visitors also had the chance to view the new R&D website and find out more about patient and public involvement and taking part in research.

Jenny added: “It was fantastic to meet so many people at the event, which celebrated being awarded NIHR CRF funding. We really hope some new collaborations may come out of it.

“We are proud to help deliver both academic and commercially-funded studies to better understand what causes disease and test new treatments in patients. We’re already involved with ground breaking research such as personalised vaccines for melanoma. Research helps improve diagnosis, treatment and prevent disease so it’s vital we continue to develop it and I’m thrilled we’re at the forefront of delivering high quality studies that ultimately will be important for patients and the NHS.”