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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Brighton and Sussex Health Research Partnership

BSMS > Research > Support and governance > Brighton and Sussex Health Research Partnership

Brighton and Sussex Health Research Partnership

The Brighton and Sussex Health Research Partnership (HRP), established by Brighton and Sussex Medical School, is an exciting initiative bringing together academic and NHS partners across Sussex. Across the partnership we will develop opportunities for shared research infrastructure, capacity building and collaboration to ensure each partner organisation realises their research ambitions. The HRP will develop a shared, unique profile for health and care research, to deliver more, higher quality research with greater opportunities for our local population to participate in research which impacts directly on their care. 

See more on our Twitter page here >


The information here will provide regular updates on the HRP work as it develops instigating during the phases of the project.

October 2023

A patient being examined by a doctor in blue scrubs with a stethoscope

NHS England REN Cohort 2 Partners – joint statement    

Sussex Integrated Care System (ICS) in partnership with Brighton and Sussex Health Research Partnership (HRP) has been awarded £100,000 of funding from NHS England to work in partnership with voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations across Sussex, with the aim to engage minoritised groups from areas of deprivation and to improve research participation. 

The project will be led by Anna-Marie Bibby-Jones, Senior Research Fellow for Equality Diversity & Inclusion, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Jane Lodge, Associate Director of Public Involvement and Community Partnerships, Sussex Health and Care Partnership; and Virginia Govoni, Head of Health Research Partnership. 

Building on the NHS Sussex Community Ambassador Network and community feedback, they plan to co-create and implement a Community Researcher Development Programme. People from our local minoritised ethnic communities and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer/Questioning and other identities (LGBTQ+) communities will be invited to receive Community Researcher training. They will reach out into various parts of Sussex to explore connections between communities and health and care research. Their findings will be crucial for guiding health and care providers and researchers on how we can do better at engaging marginalised groups. 

The project leads will also launch a new pan-Sussex Diversity in Health and Care Research Engagement Network to bring together our local Grassroots organisations, larger VCSEs, the Integrated Care System (ICS) and health and care researchers. An independent impact evaluation will be conducted by Professor of Social Work and Social Policy, Kish Bhatti-Sinclair from the University of Chichester.

Trust for Developing Communities will lead VCSE involvement in the project. Kaye Duerdoth, Deputy Chief Executive said: “I am looking forward to this new collaboration which brings community research learning opportunities as well as greater understanding about engaging with communities effectively. This insight will lead to improved services for our communities.”

Prof Martin Llewelyn, Clinical Director of Research and Innovation at University Hospital Sussex said: “The REN award comes at a very good time. Both the Trust and the HRP are setting their strategies for the next five years now. The award will help ensure there is really strong and diverse public input as these strategies take shape.” 

Other VCSEs involved in the project are Diversity Resource International (DRI), Sussex Interpreting Service (SIS), Brighton & Hove Switchboard, The Clare Project, Crawley Community Action, 3VA and Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester.

September 2023

We are delighted to be able to announce the speakers for our October annual conference. Delegates will hear from a wide range of professional colleagues around core-themed sessions on Sustainable Healthcare, Digitally-enable Healthcare, Reducing Inequalities, and Multi-Professional Research, and we are pleased that Professor David Wynick of Bristol Health Partners will be conducting the plenary address on Building Research, Service and Public Partnerships. If you still haven’t registered, please do at the link below. The event is proving very popular, so don’t miss out!

Book here >

View the draft programme here >


August 2023

The second Health Research Partnership Conference will be held on Thursday 19 October 2023. We invite contributions from researchers working in health and care across Sussex to make a short presentation, or poster, of their research. We are particularly interested in projects that showcase collaborations between institutions, across service providers and with community involvement and in research in one of the following areas: digitally enabled healthcare, sustainable healthcare, addressing inequalities, and life-long mental health.

Please submit your abstract here

There is still time to register for the HRP conference, deadline for submission is now September 4th. Successful proposals will be notified by Sept 15th.

Register here >

July 2023

A graphic with the outlines of people with different colourful elements inside each silhouette

Recruitment of Public Advisers (x4) to the HRP

We are recruiting public advisers to become members of our Health Research Partnership public, community, involvement and engagement advisory group (HRP PCIE advisory group). The group is a new venture and is currently being established. The aspiration is to grow this group to reach 10 – 12 members. The group will initially be piloted for 3 years. The role of public adviser to the HRP is key to the promotion of the interests of the public and local communities in all aspects of research by providing patient and public perspectives operationally and in strategic development.

View the role profile here >

View the full advert here >


Recruitment open for new Research Manager role

Applications are open to join our team as Research Manager. View the role and apply below, or contact Zoe Boylan ( for more info.

Apply for the role here >


June 2023

We are delighted to announce our second Health Research Partnership Conference, which will be held on Thursday 19 October 2023.The conference will be an opportunity to:

  • Learn about the Partnership’s strategy for developing Health and Care Research in Sussex 2024-2030
  • Find out how the Partnership can help you develop your research
  • Help shape the work of the partnership
  • Hear about different areas of health and care research across Sussex
  • Highlight your research and strengthen its impact
  • Build collaborations across the Partnership.

The event will include a light lunch and will be free, with places limited to 150 people.

This year at the conference there will be a wide range of talks and poster presentations to showcase the work of our Partners in delivering research excellence in health and care in Sussex.
We invite contributions from researchers working in health and care across Sussex to make a short presentation, or poster, of their research.

We are particularly interested in projects that showcase collaborations between institutions, across service providers and with community involvement and in research in one of the following areas: digitally enabled healthcare, sustainable healthcare, addressing inequalities, and life-long mental health.

Please submit your abstract here

There is still time to register for the HRP conference, deadline for submission is now September 4th. Successful proposals will be notified by Sept 15th.

Register here >

Find out more here >


February 2023

We are delighted to announce that in early February Virginia Govoni joined us as the new Head of HRP and JCRO. Virginia has a Master’s Degree in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technologies from the University of Bologna, and MPhil in Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences from King’s College London. She has 10 years’ experience in medical research settings, leading senior clinical academics to deliver major strategic and complex programmes and collaborations at Queen Mary University of London and King’s College London. Virginia joins us from Barts Charity, a healthcare charity based in East London, supporting local institutions to deliver innovative research and great healthcare to the local population. “I am very excited to start this new role. In the Brighton and Sussex area there is much potential to develop impactful research for the benefit of local institutions, staff and local communities. I am looking forward to developing these collaborations, building on local excellence and strengths in healthcare and medical research.”

View Virginia's full profile >


October 2022

The Health Research Partnership (HRP) was officially launched at a meeting on Friday 30 September. The meeting was well attended by representatives from across the partnership and number of stakeholders.

Read the full story here >


September 2022

With the launch of the HRP, we conducted a brief survey to understand the research landscape across Brighton and Sussex Medical School and the academic and clinical partners (University of Sussex, University of Brighton, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals Sussex NHS Trust). The survey is now closed.  For a summary of the findings, please contact us at our email address below. The results of this survey will be used to map the strategies for the three HRP workstreams of Infrastructure, Research Capacity & Training, and Academic Groups.


June 2022

First HRP executive meeting. The work of the HRP began in earnest in June with the first meeting of the Executive. The group reviewed Terms of Reference of the Partnership’s workstreams and began work scoping the extent of partnership activity towards its first report to the Partnership Board meeting in September.



Thank you for your interest in the Brighton and Sussex Health Research Partnership. Our newsletter offers up to date information on all our recent and upcoming events.

View issue seven here >

View issue six here >

View issue five here >

View issue four here >

View issue three here >

View issue two here >


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Mission statement and aims 

Mission Statement: The HRP with support of stakeholders across the local Health Research environment aims to apply for and be awarded an NIHR Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) status in 2024/25.

The Brighton and Sussex Health Research Partnership aims to integrate the research infrastructure for Brighton and Sussex in an intuitive user focused collaborative network to provide a seamless, logical and pragmatic supportive environment, and a single front door to support all research development and delivery needs.

It will work together to:

  • Raise the profile of health research across the partnership and strengthen the support for clinical researchers and academics
  • Harness the strategic alignment of participating universities and their NHS partners to improve health and care through increased participation and delivery of clinical research within the partner organisations
  • Work strategically and proactively to take advantage of the research and infrastructure opportunities within the NIHR landscape and beyond
  • Work with research groups and centres to support their planned growth and increase rate and value of application and successful grants
  • Co-ordinate and support early career researchers and doctoral students in health and social care research as well as training and events for staff to build awareness and capacity amongst academics and clinicians
  • Support individuals and organisations to gain funding for clinical research and ensure that funds are appropriately directed, bids include infrastructure costs where possible, and investments are made to ensure support and expertise is available to secure the delivery of funded research as contracted and to build capacity

Governance structure 

Research Partnerships Structure

The infographic below illustrates the various elements of health research infrastructure across the Brighton and Sussex footprint who make up the identified stakeholders whose formal representation in our governance structure is key to fulfilling our ambitions.

View the structure diagram here >

HRP Governance Structure

The governance structure of the Brighton and Sussex HRP is illustrated below. The Board comprises a group of people who have a shared interest in raising the profile of health research partnership and take responsibility for setting strategic direction of the partnership along with establishing ethical standards, values and compliance. It has representation from the Chairs of the four work streams. It is accountable for improving operations and processes, to contribute ideas and raise and address concerns, and in charge of overseeing all aspects of planning and implementation of activities.

View the structure diagram here >


Our partners

The HRP is a partnership between:

  • Brighton and Sussex Medical School
  • University of Sussex
  • University of Brighton
  • University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust
  • NHS Sussex Integrated Care Board
  • NIHR Clinical Research Network, Kent Surrey and Sussex
  • Research Design Service South East
  • NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) Kent, Surrey and Sussex

A graphic with multiple logos on to represent the partners of the health research partnership, including the universities of sussex and brighton, BSMS, NHS and NIHR


Our research expertise at the Health Research Partnership is categorised along four workstreams.  Each workstream has a nominated chair and they are responsible for the management and delivery of the HRP aims and objectives.

Research Infrastructure (Chair: Scott Harfield)

  • Provide an overview of health research resources across vital pieces of infrastructure within the Brighton and Sussex environment
  • Provide an opportunity for pooling and sharing expertise and resource for the benefit of partners and the system
  • Share good practice and ways of working to streamline and make systems more efficient
  • Review demands and difficulties in existing systems and groups to provide a problem-solving support mechanism
  • Considers grant development and research management

Health Research Academic Groups (Chair: Martin Llewelyn)

  • Provide reporting mechanism to health research system to allow overview of activity
  • Create an opportunity for gap analysis across different parts of the system and provide recommendation for improvements
  • Consider collaborations across different parts of the system
  • 3rd sector industry partnerships, fostering of HEI partnerships

Finance (Chair: Sue Chapman)

  • Develop and maintain an overview of the relative and absolute financial contributions made by partners in shared health and care research infrastructure
  • Support the development of business cases for investments in health and care research infrastructure and ensure these are aligned to partner priorities and processes for business development
  • Be the means by which partners share information and collaborate in relation to future financial opportunities and risks relevant to the development of health and care research
  • Develop the financial model for long-term sustainability and growth of the HRP through for example achievement of academic health science centre status

Research Capacity Building and Training (Chair: Virginia Govoni)

  • Establish joined up and supported pathway for clinical ECRs linked to the partnership
  • Build capacity in the system and link with ARC KSS and RDS
  • Identify and support ECR in the local system
  • Consider opportunities for training and development across the system
  • Provide strategic input into programmes such as NIHR Clinical Academic Training and opportunities across partners
  • Link applications for ECRs, training etc. the BS HRP strategic priorities (developed by HRP Board)
  • Establish process for obtaining and agreeing matched funding to support applications
  • Identifies opportunities for building capacity in the local system

Meet the team

AMR Researchers - Dr Martin Llewelyn

Prof Martin Llewelyn

Clinical Director, Chair, HRP Executive & Chair, Academic Groups workstream

A head and shoulders shot of Virginia Govoni, wearing a white blazer in front of a cream wall

Virginia Govoni

Head of JCRO and HRP

A head shot of a woman called Lara Tozer, stood in front of a wall smiling at the camera wearing a scarf

Lara Tozer

HRP PCIE Officer, HRP PCIE Group

Dave Todd

Dave Todd

HRP Coordinator


Useful media

Watch the talks from the HRP launch event on Friday 30 September 2022.

Prof Malcolm Reed


Prof Martin Llewelyn - introduction


Nicky Perry


Scott Harfield


Prof Martin Llewelyn


Prof Richard Trembath


Panel discussion