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New Partnership formed to develop speech and language research

News | 1 February 2022

Cardiff Met is pleased to announce a new partnership with Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit.

Bristol Speech and Language Therapy Research Unit (BSLTRU) is the leading centre for research in the field of communication and swallowing impairment and conducts research that aims to improve the care and management of people with speech, language, communication and swallowing disorders by developing knowledge related to the prevention, management and social consequences of the disorders. 

The Unit is hosted by North Bristol NHS Trust and is situated in the grounds of Southmead Hospital, Bristol. The team consists of speech & language therapy, psychology and linguistics researchers with specialisms in primary language delays, speech sound disorder, cleft palate, alternative and augmentative communication, acquired neurological disorders, voice, and stuttering as well as administrative and technical support.

The Partnership will lead to a new strand of research for the Speech, Language and Hearing Research Group, adding to their existing areas of Bilingual Speech Development and Healthy and Impaired Hearing.  The Clinical Research strand will carry out research which has impact for speech and language therapists and their patient communities. Building on a strong track record of research funding and an international profile, members of the Clinical Research strand will comprise researchers from both CSHSS and BSLTRU and will involve clinicians and patient representatives to ensure that research aims and outputs address the needs of the those working in the field and service users.

Director of BSLTRU and newly appointed Reader in Speech and Language Therapy at CSHSS, Dr Yvonne Wren said the partnership will build on the strengths of both organisations and lead to new opportunities for research. 

Dr Wren said: “The Partnership between CSHSS and BSLTRU provides an ideal context to carry out clinically based research. Academic expertise across both institutions combined with close links with clinical services and patient communities in both Bristol and Wales will provide unprecedented opportunities for research which will benefit service users and clinicians as well as providing speech and language therapy students with the opportunity to get involved in clinical investigations.”

The Partnership has already had success with the award of funding from Welsh Government to carry out a review of the evidence for interventions which support speech, language and communication in the early years. 

Dr Robert Mayr, lead for the Speech, Hearing and Communication Research Group at CSHSS, said: “CSHSS has collaborated with BSLTRU in the past and this new Partnership represents a formalising of this relationship with clear benefits for the research activity of the school. BSLTRU is recognised nationally and internationally for its work in the field and this Partnership will both expand research activity in the region and extend capacity for doctoral supervision, ensuring we are building a sustainable research active workforce for the future.”