Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit (BUCRU) offers a collaborative model for supporting and conducting health and social care research in Dorset.

BUCRU supports researchers in improving the quality, quantity and efficiency of research across Bournemouth University (BU) and local NHS Trusts, by: 

  • Helping researchers to develop high-quality applications for external research funding (including small grants) 
  • Ongoing collaborative involvement in funded research projects 
  • Offering a “pay-as-you-go” consultation service for other work. 

BUCRU focuses on health and social care research that has the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of NHS patients and the general public. The Unit is available to BU staff, clinicians, and practitioners working locally and there are no restrictions on project topic area or professional background of the researcher.

BUCRU is partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and incorporates the Dorset and Salisbury office of the NIHR Research Design Service South West. Further funding comes from a variety of research grants and contracts. 

In addition to providing collaboration and support to projects led by BU and NHS researchers, BUCRU also has its own programme of research, focused on chronic disease and complex interventions (interventions in nursing, physiotherapy, physical activity, occupational therapy, psychology etc). 

How can BUCRU help? 

BUCRU can provide help in the following areas: 

  • Study design 
  • Quantitative and qualitative research methods 
  • Statistics, data management and data analysis 
  • Patient and public involvement in research 
  • Trial management 
  • Ethics, governance and other regulatory issues 
  • Linking university and NHS researchers. 

BUCRU led projects


The IDIOM App is a clinical decision−support software (class I medical device). It has been built as part of a match−fund PhD project between Bournemouth University and Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to predict the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) malignancy in patients with confirmed iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) in the period of Sep 2017−Dec 2020. 

The research team of this app consists of PhD candidate, Orouba Almilaji, who has conducted the statistical analysis to derive and validate the prediction algorithm, developed the app, and prepared the technical file according to the MDD to register the app, and the supervision team of Professor Peter Thomas and Dr Sharon Docherty (BU) and Doctor Jonathon Snook, Visiting Fellow (University Hospitals Dorset). 

The intended users for the IDIOM app are healthcare professionals only such as gastroenterologists, and specialist nurses. The app predicts the risk of GI cancer in patients with confirmed IDA - merely based on four variables; age, sex, haemoglobin concentration (Hb), and mean cell volume (MCV).

View the app

BUCRU supported projects


In October 2019, the Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit, supporting Professor Lee-Ann Fenge of the Bournemouth University National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work, started work on a research project funded by the Bournemouth University Pump-Priming fund. In collaboration with local social care organisation Tricuro, the aim of the project was to evaluate a new pilot scheme being trialled in Dorset that aimed to facilitate improved hospital discharge procedures and person-centred reablement care for patients.  

Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on Tricuro’s operations, the project was suspended before data collection could commence, and completion was subsequently not possible. However, in January 2021, using the remainder of the original Pump-Priming funds, a new project commenced, this time examining the impact of Covid-19 on Tricuro’s reablement practice. Online surveys and telephone interviews will be conducted to gain the views and experiences of Tricuro’s reablement staff. Topics such as changes in work roles, stress and resilience, use of digital technology, and effects on clients and their families, will be explored as they pertain to the pandemic. 

This newly-focused project will run until approximately July 2021, and it is hoped that the outcomes will provide the foundation for a subsequent bid for a larger amount of research funding to take this work examining reablement practice further.


Do you need help involving the public in your research? BUCRU and BU PIER have teamed up and can support you to identify who to involve, how to involve and when to involve patients and the public in your research. VOICE is a digital platform for coordinating this involvement.

View the VOICE website

Useful documents and links 

With help from local NHS Research and Development departments, BUCRU have created a simple flowchart that depicts the research process (pdf 100kb) within the NHS and BU, to help researchers understand how it works. 

There is guidance available for BU students wishing to collaborate with the NHS (pdf 100kb) on their research project. 

For 2021 changes to arrangements for undergraduate and taught master's research within the NHS please refer to the HRA student research policy

For full details of the different research funding opportunities available through BU, as well as a list of the standard calls by research funders that BU typically submits to, you can view the extensive BU Research Funders' guide

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