February 2022 research newsletter


Welcome to the first research newsletter of the year. 2022 promises to be an exciting year at Versus Arthritis, and we’re hopeful that our research community will be less impacted by COVID-19, and more able to come together face to face.

As we move towards implementation of our new research strategy, we’re looking to appoint a new lead to our Musculoskeletal Disorders Research Advisory Group, which will play an integral role in identifying unmet needs in arthritis research, and inform prioritisation and implementation of our research strategy. I’d like to thank the outgoing lead Dr Fiona Watt for guiding the group to great success during her time in this position. Find out more below.

We are pleased to share details of further activities in one of the four central themes of our research strategy – people and partnerships. We’re endorsing the pilot phase of Our Future Health, the UK’s largest ever health research programme funded by the public, private and charity sectors. Through our partnership in this programme of work, this we’re sharing our expertise in discovering and developing new methods of early detection and treatment of diseases and health conditions to help develop the programme. Our Future Health initially invited 5,000 members of the public to join the pilot phase of the programme, before expanding recruitment across the UK from Spring 2022.

We are also working closely with the Kennedy Trust to identify priorities for musculoskeletal fatigue research, assisted by insight from clinicians, academics and people with lived experience of fatigue. We hope to announce details of a co-funded opportunity to further area soon so watch this space.

As part of implementing our new research strategy, we are refining our career support for musculoskeletal researchers. We’ll shortly be announcing our adapted career development fellowship offer, which will open in the spring.

Please continue to share the impact of your ground-breaking work with us so we can help give it the profile it deserves. Also, please consider signing up to our newsletter mailing list, to ensure we can keep bringing you updates and funding opportunities relevant to you, even after your current award with us ends.

Latest developments and activities

Call for Applications for Musculoskeletal Disorders Research Advisory Group Lead

Are you interested in helping Versus Arthritis develop research activities across discovery science, clinical and applied research?

In 2019 we established Research Advisory Groups in three fields to bring together patient, research, and practitioner communities to interact with the charity around research prioritisation and investment. Research Advisory Groups have a UK-wide remit to provide insight on key issues and opportunities to develop and influence research investment.

We are currently seeking to appoint a senior academic to lead the Musculoskeletal Disorders Research Advisory Group. This position is available from 1 April 2022 for a three-year term in the first instance. The post is associated with an appropriate monetary allowance, administrative support and travel allowance.

The deadline for applications is 17:00 on Thursday 10 March 2022.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview to be held virtually via Microsoft Teams on 30 or 31 March.

Click here to find out more and apply.

Progress Review Committee member positions now open for applications

We are seeking new clinical and academic members for our Progress Review Committee who will advise the charity on the progress of studies recruiting human participants and provide feedback to these award holders within the Versus Arthritis research portfolio. Members will be expected to input expertise and insight for their respective areas and consider bi-annual progress reports from award holders.

We are looking to appoint three new members and would particularly welcome applications from individuals with expertise in the following:

  • Expertise of CTIMP, surgical or experimental medicine studies.
  • Bone, connective tissue disease or vasculitis.
  • Trial design and statistical methods.

Closing date for applications: 12:00 on Monday 14 March 2022. 

Click here to find out more and apply.

Sign up to continue receiving Versus Arthritis research updates

We are currently reviewing the ways that we communicate with our research community. Due to GDPR, we can no longer contact grant holders once their award has come to an end. To continue receiving news of our funding opportunities and research updates, sign up to our research newsletter!

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Research is the answer, whatever the question

We know research is incredibly important to our supporters - because they've told us. Many of our donors, as people with MSK conditions themselves, believe that however arthritis affects them, research is the "the answer". This makes it no surprise that the Christmas Research appeal, which was led by one of our trustees Professor John Isaacs, was a successful one. We have also seen from our supporters place huge value on “the expert voice” (including our research community) and hearing from someone who can really demonstrate the impact of the work. We are very grateful to Professor John Isaacs, for supporting this piece of work.

Research highlights from our community

New research profiles side-effects linked to methotrexate.

How is our research helping young people to talk about their pain?

People living with multiple conditions are more likely to have chronic pain.

Research we funded that revealed a role for the immune system in fibromyalgia, was featured on the guardian top 10 science breakthroughs of 2021 as chosen by scientists themselves. It speaks to the credibility, the quality and the impact of Versus Arthritis funded research to be featured in an independently and peer-selected list of the most important research stories of 2021.

Upcoming opportunities and deadlines

Oliver Bird Fund – in partnership with Nuffield Foundation
Deadline for outline proposals 14 March 2022

Pain management for children and young people (NIHR award)
Stage 1 applications by 1.00 pm 4 May 2022

Career Development Fellowships – COMING SOON

Fatigue scoping review – COMING SOON

We’d love to hear from you

If you have any feedback regarding our newsletter, or have any questions please get in touch.