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NIHR biomedical research units

Pioneering research into complex heart and lung conditions

In 2008 the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) established 16 biomedical research units (BRUs) across England to undertake translational clinical research in priority areas of high disease burden and clinical needs that are currently under-represented. Each NIHR BRU is a partnership between an NHS trust and a university.

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Imperial College London, won BRU status for both our respiratory and cardiac research programmes. This status was supported by an initial, four-year NIHR grant worth £9 million. A further five-year grant of almost £20 million was awarded by the NIHR in August 2011. This funding enables our best health researchers and clinicians to continue pioneering research into some of the most complex heart and lung conditions affecting patients around the world. 

The BRUs aim to: 

  • increase the critical mass of clinicians and scientists working together with our well-phenotyped patient groups
  • generate shared core facilities such as biobanks and databanks to increase synergy between the BRUs
  • increase the number of drugs, devices or biomarkers progressing into phase II clinical trials
  • educate the next generation of translational researchers
  • develop public and patient involvement programmes to encourage their involvement in our research.


Click on the links below to find out more about the BRUs



Scan of a patient's lungs
The wide range of clinical and scientific facilities available for translational disease research
Consultant with nurse in front of chest x-rays
Disease specific groups that bring together scientists, clinicians, industry and patients
Three nurses in conversation
Training, seminars and courses for clinicians, scientists and allied healthcare professionals
A Trust member asks a question at the annual members' meeting 2011
A patient and public involvement (PPI) programme to promote our research
BRU Newsletter image
The latest news from the cardiovascular and respiratory biomedical research units
Two doctors talking at a ward nurse station
Information about the cardiovascular and respiratory biomedical research units