How our Impact Accelerator Unit is helping people benefit from the latest arthritis research sooner

15 May 2024
Woman wearing blue top and hijab holding a model of a spine

Logo which reads "Keele University Impact Accelerator Unit"

Do you ever read about groundbreaking arthritis research and think ‘I wish this could help me now’?

The truth is that putting research into practice doesn’t happen overnight. It often takes many years of tireless work.

We want to speed up the process, so that you can benefit from the latest research quicker. That’s why our Primary Care Research Centre has built an Impact Accelerator Unit, the first of its kind at Keele University.

Learn more about the impact of our Primary Care Centre


How did the Impact Accelerator Unit begin?

The Impact Accelerator Unit was established in 2016 thanks to infrastructure funding from Versus Arthritis.

Why is the Impact Accelerator Unit important for people with arthritis?

We know that patients don’t always benefit from the latest research as quickly as they could. But our Impact Accelerator Unit hopes to change this.

We want to make sure that excellent research can be taken from laboratories, universities, and research studies and put into practice as quickly as possible. That way, you can get the best possible diagnosis, treatment and care for your condition quicker.

How are patients and the public involved?

We want to make sure that people living with arthritis are involved with our research, every step of the way.

This is sometimes called patient and public involvement (PPI) — and it’s central to all the work taking place at the Impact Accelerator Unit.

For this reason, the Impact Accelerator Unit has built a Link Group. This is a group of patients and members of the public who help make our research accessible.

Together, they’ve co-created some amazing patient information and put innovations into practice, including:

  • A hub called Keele Health, which is packed with resources for healthcare professionals and patients based on our Centre’s research.
  • A support ‘hive’ called BeeFree, offering online resources to support people living with long-term pain with their mental health.
  • A toolkit, which gives healthcare professionals advice on how to take evidence-based findings and put them into everyday healthcare practice.Infographic which reads "2006: Fewer than 10 people. Now: 180 People"


Over the past 18 years, funding from our Primary Care Centre has also helped grow Keele University’s Research User Group from 10 to 180 people.

These people have been involved in over 100 research projects. Without them, incredible research breakthroughs simply wouldn’t be possible.

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Spreading the word that 10 million people live with arthritis

Smiling Professor Krysia Dziedzic, Impact Accelerator Unit Director, wearing black polo neck in green gardenThe Primary Care Centre discovered that 10 million people in the UK live with arthritis. But simply publishing this staggering statistic doesn’t mean that it’ll be picked up and used right away.

It’s thanks, in part, to the tireless work of the Impact Accelerator Unit, that this figure is now widely used.

The Impact Accelerator Unit has created valuable connections with policymakers, industry, local NHS Trusts and healthcare charities, like Versus Arthritis.

These connections make it easier for the Unit to shout about the Primary Care Centre’s research to the people who can drive change.

This powerful statistic has since shaped powerful reports, such as our State of Musculoskeletal Health report and our submission to the government's Major Conditions Strategy. Plus, it’s quoted by the UK’s national healthcare guideline provider (NICE)

“At the heart of the Impact Accelerator Unit is its people, we share the same culture and values, we value partnerships, communication, respect, and we want to make a difference.”

Professor Krysia Dziedzic, Impact Accelerator Unit Director

Learn more about the impact of our Primary Care Centre