When I was asked to think about what signifies a ‘game changer’ in terms of research, it didn’t take me long to think about the huge effort and scientific endeavour that has led to the development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines, in a step that will hopefully lead to a more ‘normal’ way of life over the coming months.
As the government announces plans to approve the fourth coronavirus vaccine, what seemed like an impossible feat a year ago was achieved in a matter of months. Twelve months ago, few of us would have imagined we’d have developed, trialled, and approved four vaccines for use in the time we have. What we have seen over the last year is nothing short of game changing research in its highest form.
I’m not a scientist nor an academic, but I have worked in health research for over 10 years and the collective effort that has gone into all COVID-19 research is clear. Over 1 million participants have now taken part in COVID-19 research, across over 180 studies in the UK. This has been achieved through doctors, nurses, members of the public, academics, scientists, researchers, research managers and administrators, regulators, life science companies, funders and policy makers all working together to a timeline considered unusual for clinical research. This monumental effort has led to world-leading research into therapeutics, as well as delivery of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which saw 10,000 UK patients recruited over 20 sites.
Game changing research – what is it?
When I looked up the definition of a ‘game changer’, the Oxford English Dictionary tells me it’s “an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current way of doing or thinking about something.” Not all of us are going to have the opportunity to develop a new vaccine, but we can all think of a new way of doing something, and that’s the beauty of research.
At BU we are keen to foster amazing, game changing, transformative research ideas, so if you have one we would love to hear from you. You are invited to put forward your ideas through the current Strategic Investment Areas (SIA) EoI call for transformative research concepts, aimed at providing the dedicated, tailored support to make your research ideas a reality.