AboutThe Lincoln Institute for Health (LIH) is a university-wide multidisciplinary research collaboration linking schools, colleges and external partners to investigate key issues of concern for health, social care and well-being using a ‘cell to community’ approach.

The LIH conducts internationally excellent and world-class studies encompassing the the whole research pathway from ‘cell-to-community’ seeking to develop innovative health and social care technologies, treatments and improve health systems. The LIH works in partnership with health, social care and third sector services in Lincolnshire, regionally and nationally, as well as with academic partners and policy groups in the UK and abroad.

The LIH includes research groups and centres from the Colleges of Science and Social Science including the Community and Health Research Unit (CaHRU), the Molecular Basis of Disease (MBoD) Research Group, Drug Design and Delivery (DDaD) Research Group. Other members of the institute include the Laboratory of Vision Engineering (LoVE), the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems (LCAS), Health Advancement Research Team (HART), Perception Action and Cognition (PAC) Research Group, and the Policy Studies Research Centre (PSRC) in the College of Social Science.

External partners include the National Institute for Health Research, the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network and Collaboration for Leadership  in Health Research and Care, United Lincolnshire Hospitals, Lincolnshire Community Health Services, Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation and East Midlands Ambulance Services NHS Trusts as well as academic institutions in the region (Universities of Nottingham, Sheffield, Leicester), UK (e.g. University of Cambridge), and worldwide (Netherlands Institute for  Health Services Research [NIVEL], University of Ghent, Harvard University).

Key areas of expertise include medical and molecular genetics, molecular oncology, analytics of biological systems, infection and immunity, clinical pathology, drug design and molecular pharmaceutics, human computer interactions, imaging and related therapies, movement and its disorders, quality and outcomes in primary health care, pre-hospital and emergency quality and outcomes, older people and well-being, social exclusion, and epidemiology including statistical analysis of ‘big data’.

  • Aims, objectives and strategy

    Research-Feature-540x280The overarching aim of the LIH is to understand and translate the fundamental molecular, cellular, behavioural, organisational and societal mechanisms that affect health and cause disease, to develop and deliver diagnostic tools and therapeutic treatments to improve human health, and to improve the practical delivery of health and social care to make positive changes to people’s health and wellbeing. The LIH focuses on fundamental science, personalised therapy and translational research.

    Our key objectives over the next five years include:

    • To build on our internationally recognised, world-class multidisciplinary research developing innovative health and social care technologies, treatments and organisational interventions;
    • To undertake research that examines and improves the performance and functioning of health and social care practice, organisation and delivery, with a particular emphasis on promoting quality, efficiency and equity;
    • To continue developing long-term collaborative and mutually supportive relationships with corporate, organisational and individual stakeholders (e.g. industry representatives, commissioners, managers, practitioners, policymakers, patients and the public) so that our research responds to current health priorities and is designed to addressed these;
    • To ensure that outcomes from our research are appropriately and widely disseminated using a variety of media;
    • To continue to develop a sustainable research infrastructure and environment that attracts and retains world-class and internationally excellent researchers and supports the development and reputation of our researchers and the university.

    The LIH research strategy is strongly aligned with the university’s strategic research objectives: to continuously improve the research environment; to invest in building key research capabilities and resources; to underpin the continuing professional development of researchers; to raise the impact of research; and to strengthen the postgraduate research environment.

    Fundamental to the strategy and culture of the LIH are its underpinning principles that research: responds to key priorities in health (e.g. cancer, cardiovascular disease, infection, long term illness, prescribing, organisation of health systems); is co-created and conducted in partnership with key stakeholders (service users, health practitioners, health organisations, industry and policy makers) in a way that is responsive to their needs; and, in doing so, increases the likelihood of research being implemented and leading to uptake and impact. This approach ensures we conduct timely high quality studies and design, implement and evaluate innovative health technologies in national and international priority areas. Our ‘pipeline’ of research ranges from molecules and cells , to personalised medicine and community interventions (“cell to community”.

    The LIH has established mechanisms for leadership and agreeing strategic direction through cooperation between our constituent groups; development of shared research programmes; cooperation in postgraduate research and research training, research support for partnerships with the NHS and other health-related industries; enabling high quality funding support through external bids, sponsorship and other funding mechanisms; and support for dissemination (research papers,  symposia) and creating impact.

  • Creating impact


    Our primary goal in LIH is to improve health quality and outcomes so impact is fundamental to why, what and how we research. Our approach to impact includes creating a culture of impact, engaging effectively with stakeholders, encouraging public participation in research and using interdisciplinary collaboration to solve key problems, improve professional practice and deliver positive health, social and economic benefits. At the same time we widely disseminate our research findings to professional and public non-academic audiences.

    We are working with health and social care partners to investigate current problems and the solutions to these in healthcare. We use the notion of ‘dissemination by design’ whereby impact is built into many of our studies from the outset by engaging directly with patients, practitioners, health organisations and policy makers to ensure that research is relevant, co-created and implemented either directly, or indirectly through guidelines or health policy. In this was we are influencing health care practice, policy and education locally in Lincolnshire, regionally in the East Midlands, nationally and internationally:

    The constituent groups of the LIH have already had strong impact on local, national and international healthcare policy and practice, for example on our work to develop new vaccines (e.g. for hepatitis C), increase influenza and pneumococcal vaccination in risk groups, improve ambulance service care for heart attack and stroke, enhance primary care for insomnia and improve social care for older people. We will build on our experience of research which impacts on health and social care in Lincolnshire and more widely.

    In addition we envisage that the LIH will have impact on the delivery of healthcare locally e.g. recruitment and retention of high quality medical, pharmacy and biomedical scientists leading to improvements in healthcare delivery. The LIH will also link to postgraduate research-informed professional and inter-professional education in medicine, pharmacy, nursing and allied health.

  • Research infrastructure

    Research-Infastructure-540x280The LIH is supported by significant and continuing investment by the university in facilities, staff and studentships in health and health-related research. This is continuing with multi-million pound investments in the Lincoln Science and Innovation Park (LSIP) and Social Science facilities which provide the infrastructure for continuing world-class research.

    Working in partnership with the Lincolnshire Co-operative, £14 million has been invested to develop a 10-acre facility in the heart of the city opening in 2014. Providing state-of-the-art laboratories, for disciplines such as biology, biomedical science and the new School of Pharmacy, the partnerships within LSIP will ensure staff can conduct cutting edge research shaping future approaches and outcomes in health and social care.

    The ability to attract international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, linking academia, industry and technology, will continue to strengthen our research infrastructure and environment, supporting our excellent track-record of achievement, leading to greater critical mass in world-class research and increasing our impact.

  • Supporting people


    Our staff and postgraduate students are the key to our research environment. The LIH will continue to support schools and colleges to select, recruit, retain and develop researchers with the highest potential to achieve research excellence, providing a planned induction process, mentorship and appraisal to support their progress.

    We will link clinical academics and health service staff to our work, for example through shared programmes of research with the NHS and support ‘in kind’ as well through NHS staff contributing to our research programmes.

    We will link postgraduate research students to LIH through university, external and self-funded collaborative studentships across cognate areas, e.g. cancer, vaccinations, prescribing, social computing and health.

  • Supporting research

    Multidisciplinary-research-1-540x280LIH is supported provided by the University Research Office (URO), Enterprise@Lincoln, and School Research Administrators. URO provides access to expert consultant advice on bids, collaborative partners and proposal development; applies cross-University peer review processes on tenders, and works with our researchers to ensure that proposals are costed to deliver value for money using a centralised on-line database (Awards Management System) supports bid management. Regular meetings facilitate cross-college networks and programmes. Further support is provided through the NIHR East Midlands Research Design Service which works closely with LIH to develop research bids.

    Enterprise@Lincoln supports effective project management early in the research process, providing non-disclosure agreements with potential partners, itemised consortium contracts and intellectual property agreements. Through managing consultancy arrangements, they support collaboration with governmental departments or non-governmental organisations.

    The LIH subscribes to core research databases (e.g., UKRO, NIHR) and information on funding sources is collated and disseminated weekly by School Research Administrators. They also coordinate cross-college meetings around specific programme areas to identify those tenders to be progressed, collaborators, competitors and user involvement for bids.

  • Supporting shared learning


    A core programme of quarterly LIH seminars ensures future joint research opportunities can be identified and implemented. In addition, we promote college-wide and research group seminar programmes, for example bimonthly ‘Improvement Science and Research Methods’ seminars, and quarterly seminars in partnership with the local NHS.

  • Research governance

    Ethics-540x280Research governance is provided through School Research Ethics Committees which report to College and University Ethics Committees. The College Ethics Committee includes lay members and meets requirements of external funders. Induction processes include ethics training and Good Clinical Practice training for clinical trials. We have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with primary care through a countywide Lincoln Health and Social Care Steering Group to ensure we follow the NHS Research Governance Framework. A proportion of sponsored research project are audited.