An essential feature of work to develop Liverpool’s application for NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) status, is the commitment to involvement, engagement and collaboration across the city. This month, we have been delighted to welcome a team of Patient Advisers to our BRC Steering Group: Jamie Hunter and Alan Griffiths have been appointed via our partnership work with the North West Coast Applied Research Collaboration (ARC). They bring with them a great deal of experience and knowledge in respect of patient involvement and engagement (PPIE).

Chaired by Prof William Hope, the Dame Sally Davies Chair of AMR Research and Director of the University of Liverpool Centre of Excellence in Infectious Diseases Research (CEIDR), the Steering Group includes representation from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, The University of Liverpool and NHS partners. Welcoming Patient Advisers to the team is an important step in ensuring the needs of patients and the public is central to all emerging work.

In taking forward the five programmes that will address key priorities of our local Starting Well and following our initial outline of Starting Well COVID-19 related research ideas, we have continued to work with partners to foster specific areas for collaboration. These include: COVID-19/inequalities in pregnancy and postpartum, impact of COVID-19 on service demand and current mental health needs and concerns and the telemedicine (experience of staff and patients). We have now further refined these ideas and are working with key partners to develop these studies.

We have supported the facilitation of a COVID-19 Child Research Group with colleagues at University of Liverpool,and will be looking to develop similar meetings across our Higher Education Partners. In the coming weeks, we will be holding a COVID-19 virtual sandpit event for Alder Hey colleagues, to discuss non-biomedical research projects. We will then work with HEI partners to support them together to develop key collaborations for internal and external funding applications.

We have recently set up an area in ‘CIPHA Slack’ for Community Involvement & Engagement. We will be writing out to all colleagues over the next week to look at ways local Community Involvement and Engagement stakeholders can utilise Slack to share ideas and best practice.

The LHP Cancer programme Leadership Team has been co-ordinating the development of a portfolio of Cancer/COVID-19 LHP collaborative research projects, which have been approved via the STOP COVID command system and are now applying for research funding.

Liverpool Centre for Cardiovascular Science (LCCS) held meetings of its Collaboration Group, Research Group and Community Engagement and Involvement (CEI) Group in the last few weeks. The CEI Group is currently working up virtual and online plans for World Heart Day in late September. The LCCS Research Group received presentations from two early researchers.

There was also news of a Fellowship award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to Professor Gregory Lip and Professor Dick Thijssen (Liverpool John Moores University – LJMU) for a LJMU PhD student fellow.

The first LHP Informatics Leadership Group meeting was held on 20 April 2020 bringing together a number of stakeholders from across the region. The membership of this group will grow across partners and stakeholders as the Civic Data Cooperative (CDC) project begins.

There has been a good level of engagement in the onboarding of our new Neuroscience and Mental Health Programme, led by Professor Conor Mallucci. A number of meetings have been held around enabling and facilitating future research projects and collaborations with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and other LHP partners.