NIHR | Manchester Biomedical Research Centre

Merry Christmas 2021 from the Manchester BRC

“Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

As we head into the festive break and 2021 draws to a close, I just wanted to take some time to reflect on the past year.

Having started the year with a national lockdown and ending with a huge surge in cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant, 2021 was another year of unprecedented change and uncertainty for us all. Many of us have had to navigate challenges between our professional lives, whether delays to research projects, the move to virtual or hybrid working, or even a change in roles, alongside those within our personal lives – keeping in touch with friends and family, changes to schools and childcare, and sadly for too many, illness and the loss of loved ones.

However, I think it is also important to highlight and celebrate positives from the phenomenal effort and achievement our BRC Faculty have shown against this backdrop. Despite these challenges, our BRC team has worked tirelessly to adapt and keep pioneering research open to our participants and deliver life-changing care and treatments to our patients and communities here in Greater Manchester and beyond. Our work this year has addressed many aspects of COVID-19 but we have also produced important outputs that advance our knowledge of, and ability to manage, a whole range of non-COVID conditions that affect the lives of our population. Throughout 2021 many of you also contributed towards the submission of our stage one and stage two applications for BRC status. The whole process was a huge collaborative effort, and it was a great pleasure to lead this bid on behalf of our partnership and learn of all the exciting and ambitious plans we hope to take our work forward over the next five years.

More than ever, this last year has highlighted to the world the transformative effect that research can have on people’s lives. While we will have to continue to adapt to changes brought about by the pandemic, I am confident that our team will continue to show in the resilience and agility needed to take our work to the next level in 2022.

I just want to say thank you to all our researchers, clinicians, core team and support staff for all your hard work and dedication throughout 2021. I am extremely proud of how our BRC Faculty embody our collective ‘One Manchester’ approach to delivering better care through research, and I look forward to working with you all in the New Year.

I hope you manage to enjoy some rest and time with loved ones over the break but let us all pay tribute to members of our team who will be on the frontline dealing with this next wave over the festive period; you are the real heroes.

I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and every success in 2022.

Take care,

Professor Ian N Bruce