Clinical Neuropsychology Research Unit (CNRU)

CNRU is a new research group established in 2019. It unites clinicians and academics with an interest in understanding the consequences and treatment of brain injury and disease. A key focus of the unit is the development and evaluation of rehabilitation and intervention strategies which can improve cognitive, emotional and behavioural difficulties following brain injury. At inception of the unit, key areas of research priority were:

  1. Implications of brain damage, disease or dysfunction and clinical interventions for well-being and adjustment
  2. The use of assistive devices and new technologies in assessment, rehabilitation and improvements in care
  3. A deeper understanding of disability that can result from apparently ‘mild’ neurological injury/insult, for example as a consequence of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) along with the development of treatments to minimise disability

CNRU strongly welcomes collaborations in these areas but also in all areas associated with brain injury and disease, particularly where a real-world benefit to patients and the broader healthcare system can be envisaged. An important element of CNRU is that it can assist the development of collaborations between academics and clinicians in the pursuit of research for patient benefit. In particular, this means the support of access to clinical populations and a focus on tackling problems of pressing need to patients.    

The unit builds upon and emerged from a longstanding educational partnership between North Bristol NHS Trust and the University of Bristol. This partnership was consolidated within an institutional agreement that began in 2010. The partnership resulted in Bristol becoming one of only two UK centres specialising in professionally accredited training in adult clinical neuropsychology. CNRU builds upon this educational partnership with the addition of a research group that embraces and integrates the extensive academic and clinical input to our training programmes. Moreover, this alignment strengthens the research led ethos that permeates the teaching culture of University of Bristol and the scientist-practitioner ethos that permeates neuropsychology practice within North Bristol NHS Trust. It is our intention that CNRU will become an integrative hub that supports grant and research proposals as well as PhD studentships. Moreover, we feel that a demonstrable blending of research and education will strengthen our national profile and capacity to attract funding.

The educational partnership supports the largest set of postgraduate degrees within Faculty of Life Sciences. In addition to our postdoctoral training of over 60 clinicians, our programmes recruit around 44 master’s students each year and the vast majority of these seek clinical dissertation projects. CNRU aims to meet the clinical research aspirations of these students while also aligning their work with key projects identified by the unit. Our MSc students are thus a considerable resource to members of CNRU wishing to undertake research. In short, we actively welcome requests to make use of this highly willing resource. In addition to our taught programmes, we also provide support and training in clinical practice to qualified clinical psychologists wishing to enter the UK Specialist Register of Clinical Neuropsychologists.

While CNRU has emerged from an educational partnership between the School of Psychological Science and NBT Department of Neuropsychology our aim is to broaden collaborations to other Schools within the University, Departments within the Trust and with other NHS Trusts. We recognise the diverse expertise and skills within other groupings and seek to blend these with our own expertise in psychology, neuropsychology and clinical practice. For example, developments in assistive technologies suggest collaborations with computer science and engineering.

CNRU seeks expressions of interest from those wishing to be part of this new and exciting development. Expressions of interest will lead to a request for further information about research interests. Subsequently, we will launch an inaugural meeting with the aim of consolidating research opportunities.  

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