What we did last year to...
In October 2021, we published our research strategy – setting out our ambition to continue to fund high quality kidney research, while being a catalyst that triggers kidney research with new investment, new capacity, new ideas and new energy.
We restarted our programme of research funding, after an enforced pause during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, and by leveraging investment from others, we committed £6.4 million to kidney research. This almost matched pre-pandemic levels but was not enough to fund all the research we wanted to – we had to turn down 27 excellent applications, totalling £4.8 million.
Our Transforming Treatments campaign launched – inspiring supporters by demonstrating the urgent need for improvements to treatments such as dialysis and transplantation. By March 2022, the campaign had raised £180,000. This has helped us to fund vital research, such as Dr Tim Bowen’s project to develop a urine test to show how newly transplanted kidneys are functioning – aiming to avoid the need for a biopsy.
A mindset for faster progress
Our funds are not limitless. To translate research into positive change for patients, we need more investment. To secure that we must widen and strengthen our relationships and networks. We’re now a strategic partner of Accelerate@Babraham and the 2022 charity partner of the BioIndustry Association (BIA).
We launched our first Kidney MedTech Competition, in partnership with IN-PART (experts at linking scientists with companies), to find and help researchers with great ideas for using technology to improve kidney health. Twelve shortlisted projects pitched in a Dragons’ Den-style process with seven £30,000 awards up for grabs, with the money to be used to develop their ideas and entrepreneurial skills
Boost for Alport syndrome research
Alport syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes chronic kidney disease among other problems. Like many rare diseases, Alport research has suffered from a lack of focused funding.
We’re changing that. We have brought together three of the world’s top Alport researchers, and secured £2.55 million from The Stoneygate Trust, to create the Stoneygate and Kidney Research UK Alport Research Hub.
“Our aim is that kidney health checks can be built into optician appointments.”
Dr Neeraj (Bean) Dhaun, consultant nephrologist at the University of Edinburgh
Bringing people together for progress
The kidney community can achieve so much more by working together. We are committed to developing productive collaborations and have initiated two new research networks: the UK Dialysis Research Innovation Network and the UK Renal Health Data Research Network. Each is a forum in which researchers, patients, clinicians and other experts share ideas, expertise and resources to advance their area of interest.
We also developed our annual researchers’ meeting into a series of 2-hour online symposia, called Driving Discoveries. Proving very popular, with 265 attendees over the series, these virtual conferences give more researchers the opportunity to participate and encourage junior scientists to present and discuss their research with their peers and seniors.
Kidney Voices for Research
Our online community for patients interested in research – doubled in strength, to nearly 1,000 members.