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Highlight notice on pain and fatigue

Published on 27 August 2015

We have an ambitious 5 year strategy to transform the lives of people living with arthritis by improving their quality of life. To support this strategy the charity is committed to prioritising research funding to support novel and innovative research that has the potential to make a positive and tangible change to the lives of people with all forms of arthritis. Pain and fatigue have been identified as priority areas for people with arthritis due to the impact they have on their quality of life. Our recent highlight notice on pain and fatigue generated a significant amount of interest and to increase momentum in this area we are running a further similar highlight call in this round.

We are seeking project grant applications focusing on pain and/or fatigue that will have an impact on the quality of life for people with all forms of arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders. We recognise that not all research will have an immediate impact on quality of life but priority will be given to applications that demonstrate potential future patient benefits.

This is an open call in the areas of pain and fatigue and in line with the previous highlight notice we will consider all applications in the area. We are particularly interested in applications which may inform future clinical studies.

Potential areas of interest include:

  • Understanding the biological and psychosocial mechanisms that underpin pain and fatigue and how these mechanisms can be targeted, treated or managed to improve quality of life (this may include pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches). Applicants proposing mechanistic studies are encouraged to carefully consider and demonstrate how research outputs may be translated into future patient benefit.
  • Methods to measure and quantify pain and fatigue and
  • Approaches to stratify patients to directly aid and guide clinical decisions
  • Methods to improve patient adherence to pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions that reduce pain and fatigue.
  • Research in the areas of pain and fatigue focusing on children and young people with arthritis (this was an underrepresented area in the last round).

We would encourage collaborative, inter and multi-disciplinary studies and particularly welcome applications which cross disease areas. We recommend cross reference should be made to the criteria for our clinical studies funding scheme which supports interventional testing studies. If there is any ambiguity regarding the correct route for your application please discuss this with the office in the first instance.

The term ‘arthritis’ in this notice is used in its broadest sense and we would encourage applications covering the full spectrum of related inflammatory and musculoskeletal conditions.

Applications should be submitted to the project grant scheme, where a proportion of the funding budget will be prioritised to the area of quality of life.

Applications will be assessed for excellence through the usual rigorous peer review and committee processes, being assessed by our Quality of Life Recommending Panel, a sub-panel of our Research Sub-Committee (RSC). This panel is made up of RSC members, scientific guests with relevant expertise and members of our USER stakeholder committee. Lay review forms an important part of the decision making process and applicants are advised to carefully consider the involvement of stakeholders when preparing applications.

Applications will be assessed on:

  • Likely impact on quality of life (both short and long term impacts will be considered)
  • Novelty, feasibility and approach taken
  • Stakeholder prioritisation

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