Oxford University Clinical Research Unit

Welcome

Hi, welcome to the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit’s website. We are very proud of the work we and our partners do and are pleased you have decided to visit and find out more! Hopefully, everything you need is on the site, if you need anything else please contact us at info@oucru.org.

Publications

About us

The Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) is a large-scale clinical and public health research unit based in Viet Nam. We are hosted by the Hospital of Tropical Diseases (HTD) in Ho Chi Minh City, and the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases (NHTD) in Hanoi. We also have sister units in Kathmandu, and Jakarta. As a Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme, we have received considerable support from the Wellcome Trust since our establishment in 1991.

Our research covers immunology, host and pathogen genetics, molecular biology, virology, mathematical modelling, bioinformatics, biostatistics and epidemiology. This work is all supported by an extensive Clinical Trials Unit and Data Management Centre compliant with national and international regulations and a comprehensive Management, Finance and Administrative Centre. We concentrate on the following core research areas and cross cutting themes:

  •  Antimicrobial Resistance
  • CNS and HIV Infections
  • Dengue
  • Emerging Infections
  • Enteric Infections
  • Malaria
  • Mathematical Modelling, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
  • Microbiology
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Tuberculosis
  • Zoonosis

OUCRU enjoys the support of the Vietnamese government, and we work closely with the Ministry of Health Viet Nam and the Department of Health of Ho Chi Minh City. We have developed strong links with more than 20 Vietnamese hospitals and research institutions including HTD, NHTD, The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), and Hanoi Medical University.

Together with our partners, we have led a highly successful effort in enhancing the infrastructure and capacity to perform clinical trials and basic scientific research in Viet Nam, as well as in other parts of South and Southeast Asia. Our researchers collaborate widely across Viet Nam and also with research groups throughout the rest of Asia. In particular we have helped establish the Eijkman-Oxford Clinical Research Unit in Jakarta, Indonesia; the Patan-Oxford Clinical Research Unit in Kathmandu, Nepal; and the Shantou-Oxford Clinical Research Unit in Shantou, China.

We aim to have a positive and significant impact on global health and, in particular, the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. This is being achieved via an integrated long-term research programme, contributions to training, the scientific literature, national and international meetings and membership of national and international committees. Priority is given to health issues important to the hospitals, and to Viet Nam as a whole. All work is intended not only to benefit the patients seen daily at our host hospitals, but also to help improve patient care throughout  Viet Nam and the region.

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Our history

  • 1990 - 1994

    Our beginning

    On Christmas day 1990, a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Centre for Tropical Diseases and the Wellcome Trust to set up a clinical research unit in Ho Chi Minh City. Funding for this first project was ,000.

    Work begins

    Initially called the Malaria Research Unit, by January 1991 work had started in earnest in a renovated leprosy ward headed up by Director Dr Nicholas White from Oxford University and the Wellcome Trust; and Dr Tran Tinh Hien, Vice Director of the Centre for Tropical Diseases and Head of the Malaria Research Unit, and Dr Nguyen Huu Tri, Director of the Centre for Tropical Diseases. The rest of the team consisted of 4 doctors, 14 nurses and 3 cleaners. The unit had 8 beds.

    New Director, 1991

    Dr Deborah Waller moved from the UK to Viet Nam to lead the Wellcome-Oxford side of the collaboration.

    First research paper

    Our first research paper from the collaboration was published in 1992.

    New directors 1992 - 1994

    Dr Vuong Hung Viet became Director of the Centre for Tropical Diseases. Dr Nicholas Day moved from the UK to Viet Nam to lead the Wellcome-Oxford side of the collaboration.

  • 1995 - 1999

    MOU signed

    An MOU was drawn up to fund the Research Unit which was renamed Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Unit Viet Nam.

    New Director 1996

    Dr Jeremy Farrar moved to Viet Nam to lead the Wellcome-Oxford side of the collaboration.

    Breaking ground for the new building

    In 2000, permission was granted and funding provided by the People’s Committee of HCMC and the Prime Minister’s Office to build new premises for the Unit within the grounds of the Centre for Tropical Diseases.

  • 2000 - 2004

    OUCRU gets its name

    In 2002 a 3-year MOU was signed. This agreement was particularly important as it led to increased support and investment in the clinical and laboratory infrastructure of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the recently renamed Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU).

    First royal visit

    Princess Anne, The Princess Royal visited the Unit in May 2002. That same year, the Institute of Clinical Sciences, housing the clinical and research laboratories, was opened.

    Prime Ministerial endorsement

    The Prime Minister gave permission for the People’s Committee of HCMC to implement a 5-year collaborative project between the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Oxford University Clinical Research Unit on Research of Common Severe Infectious Diseases in Viet Nam in August 2004. This was funded jointly by the Vietnamese government and the Wellcome Trust.

    Wellcome Trust Director visits

    Dr Mark Walport, new Director of the Wellcome Trust visited HTD and OUCRU in 2004.

  • 2005 - 2009

    OUCRU Hanoi established

    OUCRU established a unit in Hanoi with Dr Peter Horby as the Director in 2006.  Research programmes were developed with the National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, the National Hospital for Paediatrics and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.

    Presidential visit

    Also in 2006, Mr Nguyen Minh Triet, State President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam visited HTD.

    New HTD director

    Professor Nguyen Tran Chinh became Director of HTD in February 2006.

    Second Royal Vist

    His Royal Highness The Duke of York visited the Unit in September 2008.

  • 2010 - Today

    Welcoming a new director

    In October 2013, we welcomed our new Director Dr Guy Thwaites, and said goodbye to Professor Jeremy Farrar who has taken on his new position as  Director of the Wellcome Trust.

Our people

Our locations

Ha Noi

Oxford University Clinical Research Unit
National Hospital for Tropical Diseases
78 Giai Phong Street
Hanoi, Viet Nam
Phone: + 84 4 3576 4320

Ho Chi Minh City

Oxford University Clinical Research Unit
Centre for Tropical Medicine
764 Vo Van Kiet, Quan 5
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
Phone: +84 8 39237954

Jakarta

Eijkman Oxford Clinical Research Unit
Jalan Diponegoro No. 69
Jakarta 10430, Indonesia
Phone: + 62 21 3190 0414

Kathmandu

Patan Hospital
GPO Box 252
Lagankhel, Lalitpur
Kathmandu, Nepal.
Phone number: + 977 1 6213052
Ha Noi

The Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Hanoi (OUCRU) was established in 2006 and is hosted by the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases (NHTD). NHTD is a tertiary care centre for infectious diseases in northern Viet Nam and unlike most hospitals is a specialist hospital under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Health. OUCRU’s research programme puts clinical and public health research at the centre of its integrated clinical science programme.

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In addition to NHTD, OUCRU Hanoi works closely with many hospitals across northern Viet Nam and, in particular with the National Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology. OUCRU Hanoi has state-of-the-art diagnostic and research capabilities which improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of major infectious diseases. OUCRU is one of five Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes.

Ho Chi Minh City

The Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) was established in Ho Chi Minh City in 1991. It is hosted by the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD), originally founded in 1862. HTD is the referral hospital for infectious diseases for all of southern Viet Nam.  Our strategic aim is to have a positive and significant impact on global health and, in particular, the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. This is being achieved via an integrated long-term research programme, contributions to training, the scientific literature, national and international meetings and membership of national and international committees.

OUCRU HCMC not only works with HTD, but also a significant number of other hospitals and clinics across southern Viet Nam. All work is intended to benefit the patients seen daily at HTD, and also to help improve patient care throughout the country. OUCRU is one of five Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes.

Jakarta

The Eijkman-Oxford Clinical Research Unit (EOCRU) operates as a fully integrated segment of its Indonesian partner and host, the Eijkman Institute of Molecular Biology (EIMB) in Jakarta, Indonesia. In response to growing commitments to the conduct of clinical trials, EOCRU has also partners with the University of Indonesia (FKUI). This tri-partite partnership means that EOCRU is ideally positioned for realization of its “bench to bedside” research vision.

The vision of EOCRU is to facilitate the creation of a clinical research capacity within the EIMB and on the campus of FKUI leveraging state-of-the-art clinical/medical facilities at FKUI in managing patients in research and trials, and capitalizing the state-of-the-art biotechnological/scientific facilities at EIMB for maximum impact on human health, particularly the health of Indonesians.

Kathmandu

OUCRU-NP is hosted by Patan Hospital and the Patan Academy of Health Sciences in Kathmandu, Nepal and works in close collaboration with the Nepal Health Research Council at the Nepalese Ministry of Health and Population. Our mission is to build a strong critical mass of young Nepalese clinicians and scientists who can help build the scientific and clinical future of Nepal.

Since 2003, the research collaboration has evolved and OUCRU-NP has become a respected and integral part of not just the hospital l but also of the surrounding population of the hospital where most of the research and public health initiatives are undertaken. Their main research focus has been on the most common infectious diseases affecting patients presenting to Patan Hospital from the surrounding areas of Lalitpur within the Kathmandu valley. They have a major focus on enteric fever (Typhoid and Paratyphoid) and other causes of febrile illness including typhus, infections of the central nervous system and Hepatitis E. Their plan in the future is to expand this work to include Tuberculosis, viral causes of pneumonia, emerging illnesses and other public health priorities in Nepal.

Public engagement

Oxford University Clinical Research Unit is at the leading edge of applied clinical research. Along with the development of sciences and technologies in the region, there is an urgent need for a better understanding and communication of science and health issues in the social, cultural and historical context of our research communities in Vietnam, Nepal and regionally. In this light, the OUCRU Public Engagement team works to strength research partnerships by bringing communities and scientists together.

Our aims are twofold: firstly to involve the local communities in our research to generate dialogue between researchers and the public, and to improve our understanding of their motivations and perceptions. Secondly to develop initiatives which will bring science to the forefront of people’s minds in an engaging and entertaining way, such as through science theatre productions, lively debate and informed media writing. Sharing knowledge will help to develop an understanding of the value and need for scientific research, encouraging young people to pursue careers in science and enabling people to observe the world in a different light.

The engagement activities are supported by Wellcome Trust International Engagement Awards, but we have also received generous corporate funding from companies based in HCMC. We partner with the local government Department of Health Education and Communication (T4G) for each project, and receive support from The Hospital for Tropical Diseases, HCMC.

Training

OUCRU  has established a formal training programme for Vietnamese and expatriate clinicians and scientists in partnership with HTD HCMC and NHTD Hanoi, the Health Services of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and national universities. The OUCRU Training Programme is committed to training and equipping OUCRU scientists, clinicians and support staff, and collaborators, for the improvement of medical scientific capacity in the countries we work in.

In order to achieve this we offer a range of opportunities including, a range of research and skills training courses for postdoctoral scientists and research clinicians, medical elective placements, Vietnamese undergraduate BSc and MSc projects. OUCRU also offers internationally registered PhD fellowships. To date over 40 Vietnamese scientists and clinicians have been awarded UK PhDs and DPhils, and another 30 are registered through OUCRU. For more information contact: training@oucru.org.