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Research on improvement has huge potential to shed light on how sustainable and replicable improvements to the quality of patient care can be made in the NHS more quickly.

The Health Foundation is building on its investment in the field since 2010 by establishing an improvement research institute that will develop evidence on a massive scale across the NHS about what works to improve patient care.

In 2017 the University of Cambridge was chosen as THIS Institute’s (The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute) home following a 9-month UK-wide selection process. The Health Foundation will fund the institute in the region of £40m over 10 years to support its set-up and development, with the aim that it will ultimately become self-sustaining.

THIS Institute aims to create a world-leading asset for the NHS and for science by strengthening the evidence base for improving health care.

What is improvement research?

Improvement research builds and utilises knowledge to improve the quality of health service delivery for the benefit of patients and populations. This academic field draws on a range of disciplines in combination with the insights of those delivering and receiving health services. It aims to understand, help develop, and evaluate improvements to health care practices and policies.

It has a strong translational component – with those who research, deliver and receive health care working together to create impact for patients, professionals and health economies.

What will the improvement research institute do?

The University of Cambridge and their partners have set out a compelling vision for this ground-breaking improvement research institute, which launched in January 2018.

Led by Mary Dixon-Woods FAcSS FMedSci FRCP (Hon), Health Foundation Professor of Healthcare Improvement Studies and Wellcome Trust Investigator at the University of Cambridge, the institute will work closely with RAND Europe and Homerton College, Cambridge, and a wide range of other partners in the health service, university and charity sectors across the UK.

Seeking to strengthen the evidence-base for how to improve patient care, the institute will produce practical, high quality learning and will build research skills in the NHS, academia and beyond. 

Together with their partners, the institute will work with the wider research and improvement communities, NHS staff, patients and carers, to identify, design and test improvements. Critically, their work will include understanding not only which interventions work, but in which contexts and why. 

The institute will also fund a world-class fellowship programme to build skills in improvement research across the UK, creating a new, highly skilled generation of researchers.

How can I find out more?

To find out more and stay informed, visit the THIS Institute website.

For more information about the process undertaken by the Health Foundation to select a host for the improvement research institute, please download the Frequently Asked Questions document

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