Small research charity demonstrates power of asking questions

Today, we travel to the Lake District….

The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) is a small medical research charity which I had intermittent contact with while Chief Executive at the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC).  It has a proud history of supporting research.

Not unusually for charities of its size and type, while it represents the needs of a very specific community it has found it difficult sometimes to work out its niche in terms of funding research.  That difficulty can be accentuated when there are other larger funders working across the broader field of which it is part.  In this case, these would be charities such as RNID or Deafness Research UK.

What should smaller medical research charities do in such situations?  My advice would always be that, rather than jump into trying to fund a particular project or programme, they can enhance their value to not just their patient group but researchers and other funders as well, by seeking to ask the right questions.

BTA has entered into a Priority Setting Partnerships (PSP) exercise with the James Lind Alliance (JLA) with just that task in mind.  More details in this article from the local Kendal press.  The coverage includes details of how one can get involved.  Note also the partnership with NIHR.

The other thing that BTA’s approach exemplifies is an admirable doggedness to not walk away from research whatever the hurdles it may face.

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