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Birmingham researchers receive prestigious NIHR award

Professors Melanie Calvert and Richard Riley – both of BHP founder-member the University of Birmingham – have been recognised with a National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator Award.

Melanie Calvert – Director of the Centre for Patient Reported Outcomes Research and Professor of Outcomes Methodology – has been reappointed NIHR Senior Investigator for a second term and said: “I am delighted and honoured to receive this prestigious award for a second term. It is important recognition, not only of my work, but that of my brilliant team at the University of Birmingham, our international collaborators and wonderful patient partners. I look forward to providing senior leadership within the NIHR and building capacity for patient centred research.”

Melanie leads the Patient-reported Outcomes research theme at the NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and has led international initiatives to improve the design, analysis and reporting of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in clinical trials and works with the Health Research Authority to improve ethical and inclusive PRO collection. Through global leadership and collaboration she has engaged patients and professionals, developing international guidelines which informed European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance and are used by pharmaceutical companies, patient-partners and trialists worldwide. Her work has helped ensure that patient quality of life and symptom data is captured and reported in a rigorous way that can meaningfully inform patient care, regulatory decision-making, clinical guidelines and health policy.

Richard Riley, who has been newly awarded the accolade, is Professor of Biostatistics at the Institute of Applied Health Research and a researcher within the NIHR Birmingham BRC’s Data, Diagnostics and Decision tools research theme. He leads a team of statisticians undertaking applied and methodology research for healthcare, especially in regard to prognosis, prediction models, and evidence synthesis. He is Deputy Chief Statistics Editor for The BMJ and was named as a ‘Highly Cited Researcher’ in 2023. He works passionately to improve medical research by developing, promoting and educating about the importance of high methodology standards in study design, analysis and reporting.

He commented: “I am delighted to receive this award from the NIHR. Statisticians and methodologists play a critical role in undertaking and improving medical research, and having my contributions recognised by the NIHR is truly humbling. I would like to thank the many research collaborators and mentors who have supported my career, and I look forward to further championing methodology and guiding the NIHR community in the coming years.”

NIHR Senior Investigators are among the most prominent researchers funded by the NIHR. This award is presented to outstanding researchers developing health and care research capability to improve the future health of the nation, with reach into both academia and the health and care system.

Senior Investigators play an important role in guiding research capacity development and strengthening the career paths of NIHR researchers, which includes participating as mentors in the NIHR mentoring programme.

In addition to the title, Senior Investigators also receive an award of £20,000 per year of appointment to fund activities that support their research. They are usually appointed for 4 years, for a maximum of two terms to ensure turnover.