Research, Fellowships
and doctoral programmes

The Trust supports the Institute’s aim to attract high calibre early stage scientists as well as established investigators. It does this through a programme of support for Fellowships, doctoral studentships and Senior Investigator Awards.


Arthritis Therapy Acceleration Programme (A-TAP)

The Trust is supporting a seven year partnership between the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham to speed up the development of novel treatments for arthritis. The partnership, based at the Institute of Translational Medicine in Birmingham and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Oxford will harness the existing research strengths of both universities in order to accelerate the development and testing of new therapies for patients. Under the leadership of Professor Chris Buckley and Professor Fiona Powrie, the Arthritis Therapy Acceleration Programme (A-TAP) will develop and test therapies based on the underlying causes of inflammatory disease, rather than simply treating the clinical symptoms.


Kennedy Trust Senior Research Fellowship

Dr John Grainger, at the University of Manchester’s Division of Infection, Immunity & Respiratory Medicine, is the first recipient of a Kennedy Trust Senior Research Fellowship. Starting in 2018, Dr Grainger’s five year fellowship focuses on understanding the integration of long-range and local mononuclear phagocyte (MP) training signals in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. His project will seek to identify the mechanisms by which specific long-range signals train MP function in the bone marrow in inflammation that heals as well as establishing how these systems may go wrong in RA patients. Ultimately, the aim is to use this knowledge to both improve targeted therapeutic strategies for RA patients and inform development of novel drugs to treat disease.


Establishment of a patient cohort for Scleroderma – University of Leeds

The Trust has awarded a three year project grant to Dr Francesco Del Galdo at the University of Leed’s Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine to establish the first national inception cohort of patients “at risk” of developing Scleroderma (an inflammatory disease which leads to the scarring and thickening of the skin and internal organs). The research programme has two main aims: to find tell-tale markers which will allow doctors to identify patients most at risk of developing the disease; and to find the processes at work in those patients which have the potential to be blocked by drugs. The clinical, biological and lifestyle data gathered from these patients – alongside information about which of them went on to develop scleroderma – will also become a rich resource for future studies into the disease, both in the UK and overseas.