April 2020 research newsletter


Welcome to our April newsletter.

This newsletter comes to you at a very challenging time for all of us personally and professionally. We are very concerned for people with arthritis that are vulnerable to COVID-19, but also healthcare professionals, scientists, pharmacists and lab technicians who are facing the huge challenges involved in treating and halting this pandemic, some of whom are researchers we directly support.

We wish to support everyone who has been deployed in this effort, and all of those who have been affected by it in any way we can. While research is being re-prioritised to enable NHS frontline services, we have taken the decision to delay the start dates of all our open research calls, in part to alleviate the constraints of those applying or reviewing grant applications and to ensure that those involved in this effort will still be able to apply.

We're working together with other organisations such as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Association for Medical Research Charities (AMRC) to find the best ways we can come together and support medical research now and in the future.

You can read more about the actions we will be taking in this newsletter, as well as revised research call deadlines, and some reasons to celebrate in these uncertain times.

Celebrating research successes

£24M invested in pain research in joint funding with the government

Pain is a number one concern for people with arthritis and Versus Arthritis have spearheaded the creation of the biggest single investment ever in pain research in the UK.

This is being used in partnership with the UKRI to launch the Advanced Pain Discovery Platform which aims to demystify pain mechanisms in humans. This may pave the way in identifying new therapies for testing.

Some initial information on the first wave of funding to be released under this initiative is now available on our website.

APTITUDE study published in the Lancet

Congratulations to Professor Ramanan who has recently published the results of his APTITUDE trial in the Lancet.

This was the first ever trial to study the effect of biological drug Tocilizumab on patients with JIA uveitis. This study yielded important results with around half of children on the trial showing a positive effect from the treatment.

Read the full article on the Lancet website.

New study to tackle chronic pain in arthritis launched

A newly appointed PhD student at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease Centre, has been awarded the very first Versus Arthritis and Masonic Charitable Foundation PhD Scholarship, to find new ways to tackle chronic pain in patients living with rheumatoid arthritis.

Launching the Versus Arthritis Outstanding Fellows Prize

We're very pleased to announce the launch of The Versus Arthritis Outstanding Fellows Prize.

Two prizes will recognise academic achievements, research outputs and contribution to new knowledge with potential for significant impact on the quality of life of people with arthritis.

Find out more and how to apply on our Types of fellowship pages.

Upcoming opportunities and deadlines

Fight for Sight PHD Scheme (in partnership)
Abstract applications deadline 11 June 2020
Shortlisted applicants full deadline 22 October 2020

Foundation fellowships
Deadline 17 June 2020

Deadline 1 July 2020

MRC/Versus Arthritis Clinical Scientist Fellowship (in partnership)
Deadlines 2 September 2020, 7 January 2021

Career development fellowships
Deadline 9 September 2020

Senior research fellowships
Deadline 9 September 2020

Academy of Medical Sciences Starter grants for Clinical Lecturers (in partnership)
Deadline September 2020

Find out more on our Research funding and policy pages.

Research Advisory Group Forum events

Our advisory groups for research are planning their future programmes of activity, targeting wider-reaching engagement with people with arthritis, researchers, policy makers, health care decision makers and health care practitioners.

The groups will each be hosting a forum event in late 2020 or early 2021, bringing together key communities to move toward joint community ownership of an approach to bringing about better solutions in managing MSK conditions.

We'd love to hear from you

If you have any feedback regarding our newsletter, or have any questions please get in touch.