Greater Manchester Clinical Research Awards winners revealed

The winners of the 2018 Greater Manchester Clinical Research Awards were revealed during an evening of celebration on Thursday 22 November.

Staff from the region’s hospital trusts, primary care centres and other partners gathered in Manchester city centre for the sixth-annual ceremony to toast excellence in health research delivery.

The event was organised by NIHR Clinical Research Network, Greater Manchester (CRN GM) in association with industry partner Sanofi, who kindly sponsored the Research Team of the Year award.

Founded in 2013, the awards have grown in prestige year-on-year and are now a firm fixture in the Greater Manchester clinical research calendar.

This year provided a record number of nominations – a phenomenal total of 230 which included entries from right across Greater Manchester, East Cheshire and East Lancashire.

During the 2018 ceremony, individuals and teams were recognised for their efforts in 11 categories.  The evening closed with special awards being presented to an extra six people, whose efforts were specially recognised by Debbie Vinsun, CRN GM Chief Operating Officer, and Martin Gibson, CRN GM Clinical Director.

The event took place during the week in which CRN GM surpassed its annual recruitment target with months to spare. The network’s 2018/19 target, set nationally by the CRN Coordinating Centre, was 46,000 and the local target was 47,085.

Greater Manchester has now recruited more than 47,100 participants across 784 NIHR Portfolio studies. The 2018/19 window for recruitment does not close until the end of March 2019.

Debbie Vinsun, Chief Operating Officer for CRN Greater Manchester, said: “It is fitting that this year’s ceremony has fallen during the same week that our network exceeded its 2018/19 recruitment target well ahead of schedule.

“This is a marvellous achievement and typifies the kind of dedication and excellence that was celebrated throughout the awards night.  It was our pleasure to recognise the achievements of each of our finalists during the ceremony in this special 70th anniversary year for the NHS. Congratulations to them all.”

The host for the ceremony was Ben Bridgewater, chief executive of Health Innovation Manchester, which drives innovation into health and care services across Greater Manchester.

He said: “It was a pleasure to host the Greater Manchester Clinical Research Awards and hear first-hand how local R&D departments and research staff are delivering ground-breaking research in our region.

“Across the CRN these individuals are working year-round to offer Greater Manchester patients the opportunity to participate in commercial and academic studies, which is essential if we are to achieve our aim of making this region one of the best places in the world to live and work.”

Jonathan Sheffield, NIHR CRN Chief Executive, provided a video message in which he praised the work of CRN GM, and referred to how the Greater Manchester network is currently accounting for around 10 per cent of CRN recruitment nationally, despite providing only five per cent of the CRN population.

The evening closed with a special message from Roger Spencer, Chief Executive of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, who paid tribute to Professor Martin Gibson for his work in driving research and innovation in Greater Manchester over the past 10 years.

Full list of award winners:

Best Debut: Mark Dawson (Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust)

Best Community Research Contribution: Mfon Sam (Northern Care Alliance NHS Group)

Research Nurse of the Year: Sara Bennett (Stockport NHS Foundation Trust)

Research Midwife of the Year: Rachel Newport (Northern Care Alliance NHS Group)

Public Engagement: Join Dementia Research (CRN GM Core Team)

Outstanding Contribution: Oncology Collaboration – The Christie Breast Cancer Research Team & WWL Oncology Research Team (The Christie NHS Foundation Trust & Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust)

Research Administrator/Co-ordinator of the Year: Matthew Milner (East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust)

Clinical Studies/Research Practitioner of the Year: Christine Hughes (Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust)

Investigator of the Year: Gemma Faulkner (Bolton NHS Foundation Trust)

Lifetime Achievement: Charles Hay (Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust)

Research Team of the Year (Sponsored by Sanofi): Collaborative Research Team (Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust)

The Debbie and Martin Special Awards:

“NHS@70 Research Hero”: Deborah Hall (Northern Care Alliance NHS Group)

Accelerating Digital”: James Bond-Simmons (CRN GM Core Team)

“Outstanding Network Ambassador”: Katie Doyle (Northern Care Alliance NHS Group)

“Exceptional Experiences”: Alison Walker (The Christie NHS Foundation Trust)

“Outstanding Industry Engagement”: Max Pilotti (Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust)

“Inspirational Leadership”: Jan Cashen (CRN GM Core Team)

Details of all finalists are available here.