Why we need child health research?
Infants, children and young people need healthcare that is tailored to their needs. Their physiology and metabolism change as they grow and develop, which means medicines designed for adults may be ineffective or even harmful in children. The biology of diseases also differs between children and adults, so for example, a diabetes or cancer medication for adults may not work in children.
The same considerations apply to preventive measures like immunisation and optimal nutrition, and to the development of biomedical devices, limb prostheses, and health technologies. Research is needed to develop medicines, vaccines, devices and technologies focused specifically on infants, children, and young people, and to push forward the frontiers of medical science and patient care; this work saves lives.
Where are we now?
Funding for child health research from the UK's public sector and industry is limited. Although health research expenditure (public and charitable) in 2015/2016 was £2.8 Billion, only 5.4% of health research expenditure was directed at children's studies.1 Also, there is only one Biomedical Research Centre in UK that is exclusively focused upon children.1
There's a shortage of people, too: worryingly few paediatric academics and a decline of those who can carry out research and train future researchers. In 2017, when RCPCH surveyed trainees, 47% stated they would like to be undertaking more academic/research work but only 23% expected to do so.1
Aims and objectives
Our Child Health Research Fellowships will support a global increase in clinical and non-clinical research training posts and will increase academic capacity in paediatric research. We aim to identify and nurture future children's research leaders and create opportunities to strengthen the scientific evidence base - leading to improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and management of child health.
Our objective is to set up the following fellowships:
- Clinical lecturer level for individuals still in clinical training
- Postdoctoral clinical research fellowship
- Career development fellowships for non-clinical researchers
- International child health research fellowships for researchers based overseas
- Clinician scientist level for more experienced clinical and non-clinical researchers with the necessary track record of research achievement and, in the case of clinicians, have been awarded a UK Certificate of Completion of Clinical Training or overseas equivalent
Our first of these fellowships
The RCPCH and Newlife Clinical Research Fellowship Award is a joint award with Newlife, The Charity for Disabled Children, for a post-doctoral researcher in childhood disabilities. The research will be in an area of translational or applied research such as clinical studies, epidemiology or health services delivery, affecting disabled children, and the successful applicant began their research in June 2020.
How you can help
We are looking for charitable trusts and foundations, other charities, professional organisations, individuals and corporates, who could support development of a fellowship through a personal donation, gift, grant or partnership. We also welcome your experience and knowledge to help us drive the future development of our fellowships. We are flexible in our approach and are willing to recognise the important contributions our donors make, by considering the creation of named awards.
Each fellowship will cost between £250,000 and £500,000 across 3 to 5 years (around £100,000 per annum per award). This provides a salary, commensurate with the stage of training, research expenses, administrative support and travel costs at an appropriate level for the research.
We want to give young talent the best chance of success. You can help us achieve this by making a donation. All donations, large and small, will help secure the child health research leaders of tomorrow to drive advances in child health.
Please make a donation or, if you are interested in part-funding or fully funding a fellowship, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.