Research is fundamental to the ethos of a modern, person-centered health service and it is through investment in research that innovative and effective approaches to the provision of health and social care will continue to be developed. CSO works to maximise the impact of its research funding. We do this through positioning our investments within the wider UK health research funding landscape, through strategic collaboration, and by working with the NHS to ensure efficient support for research.
Within that wider funding landscape, CSO contributes to research into those diseases or conditions with the most adverse effects on Scotland’s health and life expectancy (cancer, cardiovascular diseases, mental and substance use disorders, musculoskeletal disorders and neurological disorders ). We do not directly focus our spend specifically on those conditions because this would constrain the funding we have available for other priority or deserving areas, and because it would not take into account research support available from other UK public sector and charity health research funders, some of whom channel large-scale funding to specific diseases and conditions. To ensure the best value for CSO funds in a way that complements and supports other funding sources and addresses priority health challenges, our approach is therefore to provide broad-based support through our investments in key infrastructure and wide-remit research grant and fellowship schemes. This approach facilitates research in Scotland across the wide range of health conditions and public health and care challenges, including those with the most adverse population impacts, and enables researchers in Scotland to take advantage of other funding opportunities available at a UK level. To this end, and to support our vision, we work in partnership with other UK health research funders to coordinate and collaborate on research initiatives whenever possible.
CSO looks to support and facilitate high quality applied research across a very wide health and care remit by:
- Enabling the NHS Scotland to host and participate in research through investment in infrastructure, research workforce capacity, scientific and management capability
- Building on the strong science infrastructure that exists across Scottish Universities to support health research
- Working with other agencies and funders to support the translation of research findings into to innovative products, approaches and solutions
- Funding individual research studies generated by the University and NHS based research community in Scotland following rigorous independent assessment of importance, potential impact, feasibility and value for money of applications
- Working in collaboration with other funders to maximise funding opportunities for health researchers in Scotland
We also invest in the future through our fellowship funding, and have added to Scotland’s rich resource of patient data through investments in genomics, precision medicine and health informatics. It is vital that Scottish patients have access to Clinical Trials and we have appointed 24 Clinical Leads across areas such as Cancer, Diabetes, Stroke, Dermatology and Rare Diseases to deliver trials to time and target. To enable Scottish people who are interested in participating become involved in clinical studies, CSO funds the Scottish Health Research Register (SHARE). This allows coded data from NHS computer records to be used to check whether those registered might be suitable for particular health research studies. The number of participants is now approaching 200,000, which is testament to the willingness of the Scottish population to support and be involved in clinical research.