The Oxford Cardiovascular Clinical Research Facility (CCRF) was developed in the early 2000s under the direction of Professor Hugh Watkins. The facility replaced an existing, single, cardiovascular physiology laboratory within the hospital that was not able to provide sufficient support for the growing body of clinical research within the department. Prior to opening in 2010 there was no dedicated research facility open to all investigators to support delivery of their individual clinical cardiovascular research programmes. Directed by Professor Paul Leeson, CCRF has grown rapidly to support over 100 research studies with over 1,000 participants passing through the facility each year.
The facility is strategically placed adjacent to the clinical patient services of the NHS Oxford Heart Centre, which simplifies involvement of patients in research studies and allows CCRF to support clinical services, when appropriate to its specialist experience. CCRF provides a dedicated, staffed clinical research environment with particular expertise in echocardiography, vascular assessment (carotid and peripheral imaging, microvasculature and arterial stiffness) and clinical physiology (exercise testing, ambulatory monitoring, tilt table). The clinical areas are supported by a laboratory for sample handling and storage, offices and meeting space.
The resources within CCRF are largely unique within Oxford and complement those provided by more specialist clinical research sites such as in Oxford including the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research and Oxford Acute Vascular Imaging Centre. Several projects are run jointly between facilities and there is also significant interaction with the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and the NIHR Clinical Research Network. Research projects within CCRF cover a wide range of cardiovascular disorders and involve both children and adults.
Funding for the facility was coordinated by the University of Oxford Development Office through private donations and significant charitable donations from the Rayne Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation and British Heart Foundation. These donations were formally acknowledged in an Official Launch event held on 20 May 2013.