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Carry on - stay strong - we will continue

Professor Alison Richardson - WRC Wessex Director

Hello everyone,

Thank you for all your continued hard work, whatever this entails at the moment – pausing research studies, adjusting protocols to ensure safety of research staff and participants amending study designs to minimise burden on health and care organisations, transforming entire education programmes in order to deliver these online and redeployment to clinical duties or other roles so our health and care organisations and universities can function in these unusual and challenging times. It has been a strain and we have all had to employ tremendous amounts of ingenuity and flexibility.  Many of you working in the NHS and care settings will be getting tired and having to dig deep to do what you do best  -  care. I think you know the country appreciates what you do and have belief in you.

Research as you have seen is playing a major role in helping our nation find answers and manage the pandemic. Thanks to all of those who have worked tirelessly to design new studies, seek funding , and set up and run covid-19 related projects in record time.  We have witnessed an extraordinary effort from the R&D community.

As we move to this next phase we are in the process of reviewing all our ARC research projects and the process for re starting paused research and commencing new studies.  We expect NIHR guidance on this very soon. Many clinicians who lead, or are part of our research teams, have had to return to front line NHS work, other projects have adapted to the restrictions in place. We will be working very hard over the next few months to assess viability, safety and capacity in order that we can restart projects with confidence.

Looking to the late summer we will be asking for your ideas for research projects, with submission of expressions of interest anticipated late September 2019.  More information will shortly be available. We aim to fund a range of projects, alongside the core ARC programme,  to deliver on our Arc objectives , with start dates in Autumn 2021.

We will keep going, stay strong and carry on.

Best wishes

Alison and the ARC Central team