The Chronic Disease Research Foundation (CDRF) is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), a membership body representing leading U.K. medical and health research charities. As an AMRC member, the CDRF is committed to upholding the highest ethical and scientific standards in all our research. The CDRF follows the principles of peer review that have been set out by the AMRC; accordingly, an independent expert body rigorously reviews the charity’s grant-giving processes to ensure the highest standards of research in the field are attained. In following the AMRC guidelines, the CDRF aims to deliver world-class research that will make significant contributions to finding the causes of and treatment options for many chronic diseases.
The CDRF Research Strategy
The Foundation’s research aims are to:
Provide financial support for researchers investigating the genetic causes of many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, long term COVID, arthritis, dementia, back pain, and migraine.
Provide an optimum environment and equipment to conduct and support research
Enable publication of the results of supported research.
Prioritise research projects using TwinsUK cohort data at the Department of Twin Research and Epidemiology, St Thomas’ Hospital.
In achieving these aims, the CDRF is committed to:
Supporting the use of research outcomes to improve clinical practice to impact peoples’ wellbeing positively.
Disseminating research findings to inform the general population about healthier lifestyle choices which may assist in managing chronic diseases.
Promoting the development of research outcomes into products, devices and enabling technology for the benefit of all.
The CDRF Peer Review Policies
The CDRF is committed to upholding the AMRC principles of peer review: accountability, balance, independence, rotation and impartiality. The CDRF aims to ensure that all research proposals are assessed impartially and objectively. An independent Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) reviews all grant applications. If the SAC considers the submission of high quality, at least four external peer reviewers, experts in the relevant field, are invited to assess the proposal. They give their time voluntarily to help establish and maintain high standards in medical research. The external peer reviewer’s written report on the grant application is sent to the SAC to assist them in their funding recommendation to the Board of Trustees. All reviewers are asked to familiarise themselves with the CDRF’s Conflict of Interest (COI) policies and excuse themselves from the peer review process if a COI arises. This process ensures only the best quality and most significant research receives CDRF funding.
Successful applicants are required to provide twice-yearly reports of their research findings and publications during the grant period to the CDRF Board of Trustees.
Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC)
The CDRF’s Scientific Advisory Committee members provide expert advice to the Board of Trustees and management concerning the granting of CDRF charitable funds for medical and scientific research. The CDRF’s peer review of funding is carried out by members of the SAC and external peer reviewers following approved terms of reference and the Conflicts of Interest policy. Members of the panel and external reviewers are volunteers. The charity endeavours to ensure the panel reflects a fair balance of experience and scientific disciplines. The names of the current members of the Scientific Advisory Committee are available on request.
Conflict of Interest Policy
To minimise and manage any potential conflicts of interest, members of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and external reviewers must familiarise themselves of the CDRF’s Conflict of Interest Policy and declare any conflicting interests that may potentially exist. A copy of the CDRF Conflict of Interest Policy is available here.
CDRF Policies on Patient Data and the Use of Animals
The CDRF recognises the vital contribution of patient data in medical research. CDRF researchers use anonymised information wherever possible or seek consent directly from the people involved in the research. The CDRF researchers abide by the AMRC’s 4Cs regarding use of patient data – choice, care, competence and clarity. More information about the use of patient data can be found on the AMRC website.
The CDRF has never funded research that uses animals. However, if the use of animals were deemed necessary to advance understanding of serious chronic health conditions, then the charity would comply with the principals laid out by the AMRC. The AMRC’S three principles governing the use of animals in research are determined by 3Rs – refine, reduce and replace. More details of this policy can be found on the AMRC website.