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Introduction

The Renal Association does not fund research directly, but the encouragement and promotion of research into renal diseases and their prevention and treatment have been major aims since the creation of the Association.

The Renal Research Committee is concerned with all aspects of local and national policy and activity relevant to research in renal medicine and renal science. In particular in the implementation of the research-relevant aspects of the UK Renal Research Strategy launched in April 2016.

The Renal Research Committee is actively involved in supporting research involving all constituencies represented within the Association’s membership including consultants, both academic and NHS; clinical trainees; non-consultant career grade clinicians; and non-clinical renal scientists.

Renal Research Committee Membership

  • Chair: Jill Norman
  • Deputy Chair: Claire Sharpe
  • Rachel Lennon  – BAPN representative
  • Paula Ormandy – BRS representative
  • Daniel Gale – Chair, Rare Disease Committee
  • Mark Dockrell – Co-Chair, Renal Scientists Working Party
  • Gavin Welsh – Co-Chair, Renal Scientists Working Party
  • Tim Bowen – elected Executive representative
  • Dorothea Nitsch –  expertise in epidemiology
  • Viyaasan Mahalingasivam – SpR representative
  • Fergus Caskey (observer) – Renal Registry
  • Phil Kalra, Academic Vice President, ex officio

Meeting and reporting

The Committee holds a face-to-face meeting annually at UK Kidney week with an additional teleconference during the year.

The Chair provides a report to the Academic Vice President for inclusion in  the report to the Executive Committee and will lead discussion at the Executive Committee on any aspect of the Committee report.

The Committee presents an annual work programme to the Academic Affairs Board for review.

Renal Scientists Working Party

The RSWP was established to promote the involvement of non-clinical scientists with Renal Association (Link to RSWP). The RSWP is closely aligned with the Research Committee and the Chair (currently co-chaired by Dr Mark Dockrell and Dr Gavin Welsh) is a member of the Research Committee. The RSWP is responsible for delivery of specific aspects of the UK Renal Research Strategy.

Rare Disease Committee

The Rare Diseases Committee (RDC) is responsible for implementing the Renal Association’s “Integrated strategy for rare kidney diseases” and with developing and accrediting expert groups (Rare Disease Groups (RDGs)). There are currently 27 RDGs whose members include patients, family and carers. The RDGs are affiliated with the UK registry for Rare Kidney Diseases (RaDaR) which produces online patient/clinician information and develops best practice care pathways. The RDC Chair (currently Dr Daniel Gale) reports at the UKKRC meetings and is a member of the Research Committee.

UK Kidney Week

Members of the Renal Research Committee participate in the development and delivery of the program for the annual conference

Research Funding

Kidney Research UK continues to be the major independent funding body for renal research in the UK. It runs a project grant funding round and a fellowship funding round each year, together with joint funding initiatives (e.g. with MRC and the BRS). More about Kidney Research UK.

UK Kidney Research Consortium (UKKRC)

UKKRC was set up in 2007 to facilitate the best collaborative clinical research in kidney disease. The consortium is jointly supported by the Renal Association, Kidney Research UK and the British Renal Society. The current chair is Professor Phil Kalra (Academic Vice President, Renal Association and the position rotates biennially between the Chair of Kidney Research UK, the Academic Vice President of the Renal Association and the Vice President of Research of the BRS. The consortium is supported by a permanent secretariat provided by Kidney Research UK and meets twice a year.

The consortium comprises Clinical Study Groups (CSGs) covering 12 specialty areas (AKI, ADPKD, Anaemia, Cardio-Renal, CKD Bone and Mineral Disorder, CKD Progression, Exercise and Lifestyle, Glomerulonephritis/Vasculitis/Lupus, Haemodialysis, Paediatric Nephrology, Peritoneal Dialysis, Transplantation). The CSGs are responsible for generating a portfolio of studies in the UK where more evidence is need. CSG leads report at UKKRC meetings.

The UKKRC also includes two recently established networks:

  • UK Renal Imaging Network led by Dr Nicholas Selby and Professor Susan Francis, which co-ordinates research on renal imaging across the UK.
  • UK Clinical Trials Network led by Dr Thomas Heimstra, which provides guidance and expertise on trial design and delivery.

Renal Clinical Research Skills Forum

This innovative group is open to Renal Trainees or Consultants with an interest in developing clinical research. The aim is to help develop research ideas from inception to completion; providing support on key factors crucial for success, including study design, research governance, and analytical skills. To find out more please contact renalclinresearchskillsforum@gmail.com

The 100,000 Genomes Project

The project aims is to create a new genomic medicine service for the NHS and to enable new research. The project will sequence 100,000 genomes from ~70,000 people (NHS patients with rare diseases and their families and also patients with cancer). Globally it is the largest national sequencing project of its kind.  The Renal Genomics England Clinical Interpretation Partnership (GeCIP) continually analyses data from the project. Researchers are grouped into domains covering particular diseases or topics. The Renal GeCIP Domain is led by Dr Daniel Gale with Dr Ania Koziell as the NHS GMC representative. The groups will focus on interpreting the data to improve clinical care and will also undertake research.

Renal Biobanks

Biobanks provides resources for fundamental and translational research and encourage the sharing of sample collections to maximize output.

The newest renal biobank launched in June and has been named NURTuRE (the National Unified Renal Translational Research Enterprise). The project  funded AbbVie Inc, Evotec AV, UCB Celltech Biopharma and Kidney Research UK will collect and store biological samples (plasma, serum, urine, DNA and tissue) from 3,000 patients with chronic kidney disease and up to 800 patients with nephrotic syndrome. Samples will be collected over a 5 year period through 13 NHS Trusts and patients followed up at specific intervals. Linked clinical data for the samples will be available through the UK Renal Registry. Researchers will be able to apply for access to samples from mid-2018.