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Greater Manchester consultants and trainee honoured in prestigious research awards

Three Greater Manchester health professionals have been named as winners in the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and National Institute for Health Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) Awards. 

The awards recognise outstanding contributions of NHS consultants and trainees who are active in research. Of the six consultants named as prize winners, two are based in Greater Manchester. The region also accounts for one of the four trainee prize winners.  

Professor Andrew Ustianowski

An Honorary Professor of Infectious Disease at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Professor Ustianowski has played a critical role in the delivery of vaccine trials in Greater Manchester and nationwide in his role as National Clinical Lead for the NIHR COVID-19 Vaccine Research Programme. His roles also include Joint National Specialty Lead for Infection with NIHR CRN, and Deputy Clinical Director for CRN Greater Manchester. 

Prof Ustianowski dedicated the award to the research teams he works with in Manchester and NIHR. He said: “I am delighted to receive this award though, as with the vast majority of research, it is important to realise that there are many people and an excellent team behind the progress we have made. Therefore, though my name is on the award, I would like to accept it on behalf of the wider team without whom it would not have been possible to achieve what we have achieved.”

Dr Abdul Ashish

A Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust (WWL), Dr Ashish is also Specialty Lead for Respiratory Disorders with CRN Greater Manchester and has overseen the delivery of Urgent Public Health (UPH) studies for COVID-19 at WWL which has performed superbly in COVID research. 

Dr Samuel Hey

One of four prize winners in the trainee category, Dr Hey is an Internal Medical Trainee at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. He got involved in research for the first time while working on the wards at North Manchester General Hospital during the first wave of the pandemic. He was accepted on to the NIHR’s Associate Principal Investigator (PI) Scheme through his involvement in the flagship COVID treatment trial, RECOVERY, and worked as a sub-investigator on a number of other UPH studies for COVID. 

Dr Hey said: “I feel very lucky to have been recognised for my contributions over the last year. It reflects a lot of hard work done by welcoming researchers and clinicians who made it possible for me to have such a great start in research and innovation. Everyone has risen to the challenge over the last 18 months and I've felt honoured to be a part of it. I look forward to developing and continuing my involvement in research going forwards.”

Each of the winners excelled in their contribution to the leadership of several NIHR CRN Portfolio studies, with a particular focus on:

  • how they demonstrated clinical leadership enabling their organisation to increase its participation in clinical studies
  • how they engaged with patients to inform them of new opportunities to participate in clinical research
  • how they contributed to successful delivery of clinical research studies, with a particular emphasis on industry (commercial contract) studies. 

Professor Ramesh Arasaradnam, Royal College of Physicians academic vice president, said: “It’s been a real privilege to witness the high level of research set by my colleagues and RCP is proud to be supporting them. Truly it’s a testament of how to embed research within clinical practice. Many congratulations.

As part of the application process the applicants had to set out how they would use the prize money to increase their contribution to NIHR CRN Portfolio studies in the future.

Trainee award winners will be invited to attend the Royal College of Physicians’ New Members Ceremony in September 2022. Consultant award winners will be invited to the Harveian Oration on 20 October 2021.