Turning the tide - five years on (2018)

Our updated report focuses on developments to the UK research landscape - and areas where more work needs to be done.
Boy looking out to sea


In 2012 the RCPCH released the report, Turning the tide - harnessing the power of child health research. Five years on, the UK has seen many positive developments in UK basic science and clinical research, and the life sciences industries. However, uncertainty reigns as the UK plans its departure from the European Union.

Turning the tide - five years on highlights the many positives developments in UK life sciences and the uncertainties posed by Brexit, reflects on the progress made and the RCPCH’s own actions and initiatives and identifies the next steps for child health research.

Key findings

  • There is a strong commitment at national level to further strengthen the biomedical and clinical research and life sciences sector.
  • The UK’s departure from the European Union potentially will have a profound influence on biomedical research, including the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, regulation of medical products, and the underpinning UK preclinical and clinical research base.
  • Consultant academic paediatrician numbers show signs of increasing; however, this remains a small percentage of the paediatric workforce.
  • Consultant paediatricians have limited time for research in their job plans.
  • There is inadequate representation of children’s interests in the UK life sciences industries strategy and few paediatricians on national research boards and committees.
  • Reliable paediatric and related data sources are growing in number and improving in quality.
  • Academic Clinical Fellows and Academic Clinical Lecturers numbers have remained steady; however, the number of trainees undertaking research outside these posts are uncertain.

The RCPCH calls for a continued focus and a coordinated effort to promote child health research. We will continue to monitor progress over time to ensure not only infants, children and young people, but so too UK population wellbeing and prosperity benefit from a sustained focus on research to improve child health.