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NIHR biomedical research units

Our best clinicians and scientists working together

In 2008 the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) established 16 biomedical research units (BRUs) across England to undertake translational clinical research in priority areas of high disease burden and clinical needs that are currently under-represented. Each NIHR BRU is a partnership between an NHS trust and a university.

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Imperial College London, won BRU status for both our respiratory and cardiac research programmes. This status was supported by an initial, four-year NIHR grant worth £9 million. A further five-year grant of almost £20 million was awarded by the NIHR in August 2011. This funding enables our best health researchers and clinicians to continue pioneering research into some of the most complex heart and lung conditions affecting patients around the world.

Our BRUs aim to:

  • Increase the critical mass of clinicians and scientists working together with our well-phenotyped patient groups

  • Share core facilities such as biobanks and databanks to increase synergy between the BRUs

  • Increase the number of drugs, devices or biomarkers progressing into phase II clinical trials

  • Educate the next generation of translational researchers

  • Develop public and patient involvement programmes to encourage their involvement in our research.


The NIHR Respiratory Disease BRU incorporates clinical research facilities for adult inpatient and adult and paediatric outpatient trials. The NIHR Cardiovascular Disease BRU incorporates state-of-the-art facilities for cardiac imaging, interventional cardiology and genetics. Both centres opened in 2010.


Pump priming awards 2012

The Cardiovascular and Respiratory BRUs are regularly awarded pump priming grants for researchers but, in 2012 , grants have been awarded jointly for the first time, to increase collaboration between respiratory and cardiology researchers. Read more about the joint pump priming awards 2012.


For further information on our NIHR biomedical research units please click on the links below: