When we funded the GRANULE project in 2015, the team had a bold vision for new generation of surgical researchers drawn from all over the world. To achieve it, the right support and training needed to be made available to all.

Through a series of hands on workshops, GRANULE has gone on to train over 200 international medical students and doctors, equipping them with the technical and interpersonal skills needed to recruit patients into research trials. According to Simon Bach, the Royal College of Surgeons of England’s Surgical Specialty Lead for colorectal surgery, key to the initative’s success has been “flexible funding from BDRF, which has made all of this possible”.

Up til now, all the workshops had taken place in Europe – but the latest step on the road to fulfilling this ambitious vision took the team to Rwanda’s capital Kigali. They delivered a course at the 2nd annual research prioritisation workshop from the NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery – where the training was “as relevant to colleagues in Pakistan, India, Nigeria, and Ghana as it was in Birmingham, London, Newcastle, and Bristol” according to Aneel Bhangu, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon in Birmingham who heads up the GRANULE project.

Huge interest was expressed in expanding the GRANULE programme to other countries from attendees. Adewale Adisa, a consultant surgeon from Ile Ife, Nigeria, said “We absolutely need this training to help support us grow a research portfolio”

Stephen Tabiri, a fellow consultant based in Tamale in Ghana added “we are looking forward to taking this back and using the material to train our research teams”.

The power of research to unite medical communities and deliver huge benefit for patients internationally was clearly evident, and we are enormously excited for what the future holds.

As Simon points out, this is yet another example of how our supporters funding the small seeds of a big idea can reap huge rewards – changing the world for the better. To ensure we can keep funding projects like GRANULE, which will have major impacts for patient benefit, please consider becoming one of our donors!

With your help, we can continue to fund GRANULE and projects like it, to help make research better all over the world.

Medical professionals interested in learning more and accessing some of the GRANULE materials can find them on NIHR Learn.

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