The announcement today of a new national network focusing on applied health and social care research has been welcomed by the AHSN Network.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) are based on the same regions as England’s 15 AHSNs and will work closely with them.

Professor Gary Ford, Chief Executive of the Oxford AHSN and the AHSNs’ research lead, said: “The new ARCs will be important partners in identifying innovations of value and undertaking research in line with the needs of local healthcare systems.”

A key early joint priority will be responding to a national survey of the NHS’s local innovation and research needs which was published earlier this year.

Each NIHR ARC will be made up of health and care providers, commissioners, local authorities, universities, industry and charities all working together to address specific health and care issues. They will be formally launched in October and represent a £135 million investment over the next five years.

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said: “The UK has a proud history of cutting edge health research and by supporting the great minds in health and social care, this funding has the potential to unlock solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing healthcare and revolutionise the way patients access treatments in the future.”