The ongoing Call for Evidence to inform the Government’s national strategy on Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) has prompted us to reflect on our ambitions for research in acquired brain injury.

While the curious dreamer inside us might want to see a growth in research on anything and everything relating to acquired brain injury, the scientist within asks for a scope and focus. After considering the four themes suggested in the Call for Evidence: Awareness of funding for research into acquired brain injury; Identifying priorities for future research; Involving patients in research design and participation; Translation of research into practice - we would suggest that Identifying priorities for future research and Translation of research into practice would be useful starting points.

That is not to say that awareness of funding for research into acquired brain injury or involving patients in research design and participation are not important. On the contrary, without funding, or knowledge of funding streams, research cannot flourish. Equally, involving patients in research design and participation are essential to ensure relevance, and emphasis on questions that will make a real difference to people’s lives. On the other hand, building a robust understanding of what the priorities for future research are, from multiple perspectives, including those of patients, their loved ones, the professionals who support them would bring specificity and focus, while still ensuring the involvement of all key stakeholders.

Developing a strategy and conducting research in acquired brain injury share a common goal: improving people’s lives. Admittedly, they do so through different routes. Research aims to achieve this by generating new knowledge. But said knowledge might never realise its ambition of improving lives, unless there is a way of ensuring that it can be put into practice, which is where a strategy comes in - to help us focus our efforts and figure out how this can be accomplished.

Research in acquired brain injury has been steadily growing in the past 10 years, with many technological and societal changes occurring in parallel. A renewed focus on identifying priorities alongside those with lived experience, and on understanding and promoting how new knowledge can be effectively translated into practice, could make a real and positive difference to everyone. After all, what researcher would not like to see their discovery being put to good use?

Remember that the call for evidence closes at 11.45pm on 6 June 2022. Complete the survey online or get in touch with our Foundation to share your thoughts: