The Circulation Foundation is the only UK charity dedicated to promoting vascular health by supporting excellence in education, research and awareness.
Vascular disease can affect any part of the body at any time. It is the most common precursor to coronary heart disease and heart attack, it also causes stroke by affecting the arteries in your neck. One of the most common forms of vascular disease is peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which is when the arteries in your legs are affected. It is estimated that 9% of the population suffer from PAD, which causes painful legs, ulceration and amputation. People with diabetes are five times more likely to develop vascular disease.
Even though vascular disease is so widely prevalent in our society, it is vastly underfunded in the field of medical research. The Circulation Foundation is working to change that by embarking on a focused programme of research which will capture medical research students early in their career and help build a strong vascular research community in the UK, as well as funding research undertaken by established vascular research scientists.
To promote and fund pioneering research into vascular disease, that:
• advances treatment
• discovers new treatments
• prevents vascular disease
Why is research important?
Vascular research, in common with many of its sister disciplines, faces a number of opportunities and challenges arising from the combination of an explosion of scientific knowledge and technologies with an ever-diminishing pool of resources (human and financial). The challenges can be immense and multifactorial, and no single solution will easily overcome them.
Many talented and gifted trainees begin busy clinical careers and concurrently suspend all research endeavours. To this end we have carved out clear ‘translational tracks’ which will enable them to continue their research activities, within their clinical working lives. To enable gifted trainees to continue their scientific research alongside their clinical commitments, the Foundation has created 3 major awards which will support them at crucial points in their training. This will ensure that we are not only funding essential research into the causes and treatments of vascular disease, but also establishing a fertile ground to allow vascular research in the UK to grow.
President’s Early Career Award (PECA) £100,000
To support consultant vascular surgeons within the first 5 years of their appointment. Funded over
2 years it enables newly appointed consultants to continue their research career, which might otherwise have been abandoned because of their clinical case load.
George Davies Award for Visionary Vascular Research £80,000
This award aims to bridge the gap between the SSA and PECA and to support bright, creative research talent in individuals committed to innovation and excellence in vascular research. It is suitable for individuals who have completed their higher degree by research (MD/PhD) who wish to pursue an academic career and need research grant support as they return to clinical practice. This award will support highly innovative and diverse research streams such as:
- Vascular biology and vascular pathophysiology
- Epidemiology of vascular disease
- The ‘omics’ of vascular disease (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics)
- Biostatistics research: developing new methods for designing and analysing clinical studies, including clinical trials
- Comparative effectiveness research (the comparison of screening, diagnostic, preventive or treatment strategies for vascular disease.
Designed as the primary funding stream, the SSA supports young surgeons at an early point in their career, capturing trainees during the transition from their basic surgical training into full time research. As a result, it is hoped that applications for future clinical lecturer posts will be boosted.
Award procedure, peer and external peer review
Each award category has a dedicated application form, set of criteria and terms and conditions. Only applications on those forms will be accepted.
Every application will be checked for eligibility, reviewed by members of the Research Panel, and sent to 2 external peer reviewers. Shortlisted candidates are then invited to interview and their research and presentation are discussed in compliance with our Conflicts of Interest Policy. The interview panel, which includes a Lay Person, have the final decision on the funding of any grant.
The Circulation Foundation will utilise a bank of external peer reviewers who are a mix of vascular surgeons, vascular biologists, clinicians and research scientists. Members of the Research Panel or Vascular Society Council, and therefore trustees of the Foundation, are not considered external.
Members of the Vascular Society, Society of Interventional Radiology and other professional associations are considered external and form the bedrock of this pool.
Each external peer reviewer abides by the Conflict of Interest Policy and will mark a maximum of 2 applications per year.
The Research Panel comprises council members of the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland, who are Trustees of the Charity and are elected to office; and invited experts who have demonstrated excellence in national vascular research programmes and a lay person. Members of the Research Panel hold office for up to 3 years
The Circulation Foundation will only fund animal-based work when there is no viable alternative to tackle the questions posed by the research study. Any animal studies are fully justified in an application; comply with a stringent procedure to ensure that animal work is only supported when absolutely necessary and conforms to strict regulations on the treatment of the animals involved. The Circulation Foundation, as a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities, has adopted and adheres to the AMRC Statement on animal research. This can be found at www.amrc.org.uk
The Circulation Foundation is currently designing new awards that will sit alongside our current awards. These will include funding for community and patient centred research (novel treatments, rehabilitation and raising awareness of and promoting vascular health). These new awards will be launched in 2013.