Latest news and updates

Clinical Research Fellowships – applications open

Applications are now open for our next Clinical Research Fellowship call. Clinical research fellowships are our entry level scheme for talented medical and non-medical healthcare professionals. They're awarded to encourage clinically qualified professionals into an academic research career in any discipline relevant to arthritis and related musculoskeletal conditions. They aim to provide training in clinical and/or laboratory research techniques leading to a higher degree (usually a PhD).

Full details of the scheme and guidance documents are available here.

Additional information and FAQ’s about applying for fellowships are available here.

How to apply

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 26th February 2020.

Detailed information and guidance on applying for the scholarships can be found here. Applications should be made through Grant Tracker. For all enquiries, please contact research@versusarthritis.org.

Funding available to address priorities in chronic pain research through a joint call with the NIHR

We’re delighted to be partnering with NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research on their cross-programme themed-call in the management of chronic pain to address priorities in disease management and applied health research as identified through our pain roadmap.

Co-funding is available for appropriate studies in the Programme Grants for Applied Research chronic pain themed call for all rounds being opened throughout 2019 and 2020.

Our roadmap for pain (PDF, 1.62 MB), launched in 2018, prioritises 14 challenges to be overcome to understand, treat and prevent pain. This joint call seeks proposals for programmes of work that address research questions in the following roadmap priority areas:

  • Interventions
  • Workplace
  • Services
  • Under-represented groups
  • Prevention

The amount of funding awarded and the length of the funding period will depend on the nature of the proposed work, in particular whether or not the proposal includes a substantial powered trial.

The next call for applications to this call opens on 3 October 2019 with a deadline of 27 November 2019. For more details or to apply, please visit https://www.nihr.ac.uk/documents/nihr-themed-call-on-the-management-of-chronic-pain-nihr-programme-grants-for-applied-research-in-partnership-with-versus-arthritis/20388

Recent achievements from our researchers

We're pleased to announce some exciting achievements from Versus Arthritis researchers around the UK.

Professor Elizabeth Jury – who was previously one of our career development fellows – has been promoted to Professor of experimental rheumatology within the Inflammation department, University College London.

Congratulations also to Dr Ross Wilkie of Keele University (based at our primary care centre) who has won the health professionals in rheumatology award from European League Against Rheumatism, in recognition of his work identifying targets to reduce the increased risk of mortality in people with arthritis.

Professor Cathy Holt (based at our biomechanics and bioengineering research centre) has been elected as one of the Fellows of International Orthopaedic Research by the International Combined Orthopaedic Research Societies (ICORS) at their June meeting in Montreal. The academy aims to demonstrate, celebrate and disseminate excellence in orthopaedic research, and advance learning and public awareness in this area.

Also at our biomechanics centre, Dr Kate Button has been appointed Specialty lead for Musculoskeletal disorders by Health and Care Research Wales. During this three-year appointment Dr Button will be building network of principle investigators within musculoskeletal research, supporting uptake of studies in Wales, and engaging with counterparts around the UK.

If you have any good news stories or achievements to share, please do get in touch with the research department at research@versusarthritis.org. We love to hear about our researchers’ achievements.

PhD scholarships – applications open

Applications are now open for our annual PhD scholarship call.

These scholarships aim to encourage the best basic scientists and non-medical healthcare professionals (including nurses and allied health professionals) to embark on a research career in any discipline relevant to arthritis and related musculoskeletal diseases.

PhD scholarships include a generous tax-free incremental stipend, UK tuition fees, fixed expenses and a travel grant for conference attendance.

The deadline for applications is 16:00 on 18 September 2019.

Who should apply?

Applications should be made by the proposed supervisor at an eligible institution. Applicants may include a named student or apply with projects alone, with student recruitment to be carried out at a later date.

How to apply

Detailed information and guidance on applying for the scholarships can be found here. Applications should be made through Grant Tracker. For all enquiries, please contact research@versusarthritis.org.

Communicating about your research

We are currently working on a project within the charity, bringing research to life, in which we are looking at ways to help people tell the story of research. The more we ask people, the more it seems that what we need to do through this project is help our volunteers, colleagues, people with arthritis, and researchers, to be the storytellers about our research.

Our researchers are key to this as you have a unique and in depth understanding of the research and how it fits in the wider context. Communicating your research to a non-specialist audience is a skill and something important that researchers are doing increasingly through different means, such as social media and public engagement events.

We have put together a short survey to help us understand how you as researchers are currently engaging with the public about your research, what has helped you to do this and what additional support could help you.

Please help us to understand these key pieces of information by completing our survey. Closing date is 30 June 2019.

Thank you in advance for your time and input. Any queries or problems, please do get in touch with us at research@versusarthritis.org.

Researchfish deadline approaching

Award-holders who are due to report in May must have updated Researchfish by 26 June 2019.

The majority of our awards report through Researchfish in either May or December. If you're due to report in May, you should have received an email from Researchfish to let you know. We recognise that new awards may have little to report, but please complete your update as fully as you can.

In particular we ask that you:

  • Only report outputs arising from work funded by the specific grant that we have asked you to report on
  • review all sections in Researchfish and complete all those for which you have outputs to report
  • remember to update the ‘Further Information’ section if you have previously reported on this grant.

You can delegate completion of the report to a member of your research team but you'll need to review and submit the report yourself.

You can also update Researchfish throughout the year, for example with publications. Please let us know of any upcoming publications as soon as possible, because once an article is published it is too late for our press office to prepare a press release.

The information provided in your report is used to demonstrate the impact of the research we fund and the benefits to people with arthritis. It may also be used by our fundraising teams to help raise more money to fund research. Please note that it is a condition of our funding that the award-holder provides information about the outcomes resulting from their funded research on request.

For help using Researchfish, visit their Help and Support section. If you're reporting for the first time, we strongly recommend that you attend one of the online training webinars.

Versus Arthritis at the British Society for Rheumatology conference 2019

The conference season will shortly be underway and first up we’re looking forward to seeing many of you at the British Society for Rheumatology annual conference next week in Birmingham.

We are particularly excited as this will be our first major research conference as Versus Arthritis. Come and visit us at stand number 416 to find out more about our new organisation and how we can support your work.

Members of our research team will be attending across all three days of the conference. If you would like to arrange a time to speak to one of the team, please contact researcherengagement@versusarthritis.org.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Add your voice to our research ambition by applying to join our Research Advisory Groups

Versus Arthritis are inviting applications to join our newly established Research Advisory Groups, which have been created to act as an interface between our research funding and liaison activities and the patient, scientific and clinical communities.

Our Research Advisory Groups (RAGs) will build on the success of our previous Clinical Studies Groups and provide insight on key issues and opportunities to develop and influence research investment across discovery science, translational research, clinical research and applied research in disease management and health care services. In addition, they will be able to facilitate the development of research proposals and targeting of funding to address the priority questions.

Our three Research Advisory Groups are as follows:

(i) Adult Inflammatory Arthritis
(ii) Musculoskeletal disorders
(iii) Autoimmune rheumatic diseases

Each Research Advisory Group will be made up of approximately 16 members and we are seeking applications from basic and translational scientists, as well as clinical and applied researchers, practitioners and trainees to join these groups.

More information on specific membership opportunities within each group can be found at the following links:

The first group meetings are expected to take place in May/June/July in London, and the first workshops and meetings with the wider communities are expected to be held in late summer.

Industry representation cannot be accepted as we work with industry via other partnership approaches. We are also recruiting patient members from our Patient Insight Partner Group.

To apply please forward a summary one-page CV and a short covering statement (maximum of 300 words) in support of your application, including which group you wish to apply to join, to Peter Morley on research@versusarthritis.org by 29 April.

Fellows Versus Arthritis: Our 2019 Annual Fellows’ Meeting

We recently held our first annual Fellows’ Meeting as Versus Arthritis. The focus of the event is to celebrate the research that we fund and support career development through networking, however it also provides us with a great opportunity to engage with our research community.

The research students and fellows we fund had the opportunity to present, get feedback on their work and network with their peers. We heard from guest speakers, including Professor Irene Tracey (University of Oxford) who gave an inspirational presentation of her work on chronic pain, the brain and neuroimaging. There was a thought-provoking talk from Dr Vicky Robinson (Chief Executive at the NC3Rs) who presented tools to help our researchers improve animal research. We also heard from James O’Malley (Policy Manger at Versus Arthritis) who spoke about the work we have been doing with other organisations to ensure our withdrawal from Europe doesn’t negatively impact medical research.

The meeting finished with the presentation of prizes for the best oral and poster presentations, and the winners were as follows:

Overall the event was a resounding success and continues to go from strength to strength. This is all thanks to the fantastic team here at Versus Arthritis, as well as the real engagement, enthusiasm, and passion from our fellows and attendees at the event. We were very pleased to see that a number of collaborations were sparked at the meeting, along with the great Twitter activity we had this year through #FellowsVersusArthritis.

Pain awards for early career researchers

This year, for the first time, early career researchers will be able to apply for pump priming funds for research that is seeking to address the priorities listed in our research roadmap for pain (PDF, 1.6 MB). The purpose of this new pain research call is to support researchers who are transitioning to independence, providing vital financial support to enable other awards and fellowships to be obtained within, or shortly after, the award timeframe.

Who is eligible to apply?

The lead applicant must be an early career researcher, defined as researchers and academics who have not received previous significant research funding (in excess of £100,000) as principal investigator. This does not include personal fellowships. There is no limit on years post-PhD. Awards of up to 18 months in length are available for salary support and research expenses of up to £37,500.

How to apply

Applications will be accepted by each of our research subcommittees, covering discovery, treatment and health research. This call will involve a one-stage application process, which will open in April 2019. More information can be found on our types of grant page.

For all enquiries, please contact research@versusarthritis.org.