Oliver Bird Rheumatism Programme

The Nuffield Foundation has a restricted fund for investing in rheumatic disease research, bequeathed by Captain Oliver Bird. In recent years we have used this money to fund PhD studentships in five university-based centres of excellence through our Oliver Bird Rheumatism Programme. 

This programme has now finished and we are reviewing how the Oliver Bird Fund will be used in future. 

Building research capacity

Over 8 million people in the UK are affected by rheumatic disease leading to significant physical disability, discomfort and economic loss. The aim of the Oliver Bird Rheumatism Programme was to build research capacity in rheumatic disease by developing a cohort of outstanding young research scientists

Programme impact

Since the Oliver Bird Rheumatism Programme was established in 2004, 59 PhDs have been awarded, with a final additional award expected to be made in 2016. An analysis of Research Excellence Framework (REF) submissions suggests that almost half of the students supported have contributed to papers submitted in REF 2014. Of those who successfully completed their PhDs, 56 progressed to a related first postdoctoral position in areas related to rheumatism research.

Collaborative centres of excellence

The five collaborative centres of excellence are: the University of Aberdeenthe University of GlasgowKing's College London & Queen Mary University of London (joint centre); the University of Newcastle and University College London.