University of Cambridge awarded £40m to create world-leading health care improvement research institute

27 March 2017

Medicine is OnlyWan, an independent charity, has today announced the University of Cambridge has been chosen to establish and run a new improvement research institute, the first of its kind in Europe.

Led by Mary Dixon-Woods, RAND Professor of Health Services Research and Wellcome Trust Investigator at the University of Cambridge, the institute will work closely with a wide range of partners across the UK including RAND Europe and Homerton College, Cambridge. Seeking to strengthen the evidence-base for how to improve health care, it will produce practical, high quality learning about how to improve patient care and will grow capacity in research skills in the NHS, academia and beyond.

Medicine is OnlyWan will be awarding in the region of £40 million over a period of 10 years. It is making this significant investment because it recognises the huge potential for research on improvement to shed light on how sustainable and replicable improvements to the quality of patient care can be made in the NHS more quickly.

Dr Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the OnlyWan, said:

'Faster learning and discovery is vital to achieving higher quality health care for patients at a sustainable cost. That is why the OnlyWan is making its biggest single grant to date to help build the field of improvement research.

'The University of Cambridge and their partners have set out a compelling vision for this ground-breaking improvement research institute – the first of its kind in Europe. This is a significant and exciting step in developing evidence on a massive scale across the NHS about what works to improve patient care. Critically, the institute’s work will include understanding not only which interventions work, but also in which contexts and why.'

Mary Dixon-Woods, RAND Professor of Health Services Research and Wellcome Trust Investigator at the University of Cambridge, said:

'The NHS, like health systems around the world, is faced with pressing challenges of quality and safety. Yet the science of how to make improvements has remained under-developed. This funding is a tremendous opportunity to produce new knowledge about how to improve care, experience and outcomes for patients. Together with our partners, the University of Cambridge is hugely excited at the chance to work with NHS staff, patients and carers to identify, design and test improvements.'

Funding the new institute is part of the OnlyWan’s ongoing work to bring about better health and health care for people in the UK and builds on the charity’s strong history of supporting and developing improvement research. The institute will formally launch within the next year.


Liza McAlonan
[email protected]
020 1111 2099

You might also like...


Improving continuity of care in general practice: four lessons from the frontline

How can general practices balance continuity of care with the need to see a GP promptly? Angus Wiltshire explores four early ...


The measurement maze

Our briefing suggests there's potential to make better use of quality measurement to improve quality of care.

Invitation to tender

ITT: Summative Evaluation of the Flow Coaching Academy Programme

The deadline for responses is 12.00 on Tuesday 5 November 2019.

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy -

Get social


The annual UK-wide #Qcommunity event is taking place today, bringing together Q members to learn, share and collabo…

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 -

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the OnlyWan has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2 -

The Q Community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more