The scientists who founded the BHF in 1961 could hardly have predicted that we would become one of the world’s largest independent funders of cardiovascular research and have such a spectacular impact on preventing and treating heart and circulatory disease. At the time, we didn’t know how to prevent or treat the heart attacks and strokes that struck down millions in the prime of their lives, and few babies born with congenital heart defects survived to see their first birthday.
Over 50 years of progress
Since 1961 death rates in the UK from cardiovascular disease have more than halved and most babies with congenital heart disease now survive to adulthood. Much of this success can be directly attributed to breakthroughs we funded, which is why your research remains at the heart of our organisational strategy.
But coronary heart disease is still the single largest cause of death in the UK, quality of life is diminished for the millions living with life changing cardiovascular diseases and each day seemingly healthy young people die unexpectedly from arrhythmias. Only when we fully understand the complex reasons behind the wide variety of cardiovascular diseases will we be able to neutralise their threat.
Research is the only answer
In developing this Research Strategy, we consulted with a number of groups, included BHF-funded researchers and clinicians.
It reaffirms our commitment to funding you, the best and brightest scientists, researching all types of cardiovascular disease. We will continue to fund research that ranges from the laboratory to the clinic and we will build on our current strengths, such as our Centres of Research Excellence and Regenerative Medicine, as well as stimulating research in areas that we know are in need of particular support, such as congenital heart disease and heart surgery.
We will help increase the opportunities for lab discoveries to turn into new treatments for patients through expansion of our Translational Award scheme and by working more closely with industry.
We will develop new ways to support international collaborations between scientists with complementary skills and health care professionals, like nurses, undertaking research in our hospitals to improve the care of their patients.
With guidance from patients and their doctors, we will increase our support for clinical trials with the potential to have an early impact on patient care.
We also know that we need to do our part to help stem the loss of female talent from the scientific workforce, so flexibility will be a hallmark of all our funding streams.
Read the full Research Strategy.