The CO Research Trust, the UK’s leading carbon monoxide (CO) research charity, today launched the 2021 call for small grant applications.

The aim of the Trust is to provide grant funding, advice and support to organisations wishing to carry out research relating to CO safety. The small grants call is open to small, innovative projects, up to £10,000, until 2nd July 2021. Anyone wishing to apply is encouraged to get in touch with the Trust.

Applications are invited from researchers and academics relating, but not limited, to the areas of focus outlined by the Trust.

These areas include the following.

  • A Novel Biomarker
    Given the limitations of carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb) it is essential that a new biomarker is found to make diagnosis easier, to ensure that those who need treatment receive it, and to make sure that all cases of CO exposure are identified, so a true and full picture emerges.
  • Better Treatments and Therapeutics
    To improve the treatments and therapeutics we need to better understand the mechanisms of CO poisoning, to review and build upon current methods, and to further explore the increased susceptibility associated with vulnerable groups and those with underlying health conditions.
  • Understanding Vulnerable Groups / Co-Morbidities
    The elderly, children, pregnant women, people living in fuel poverty, and people with underlying health conditions are thought to be more susceptible to CO exposure. To develop policies and solutions to mitigate these risks, we need to increase our knowledge of what the level of risk is and why these groups are more vulnerable.
  • Quantifying Prevalence/Data
    We need to better quantify the prevalence of CO exposure in the UK – capturing both the fatalities, as well as low level exposure. We will do this by funding primary data collection, assisting with the aggregation of data collected by others, and supporting the analysis of healthcare datasets held by others (i.e. the UK Biobank).
  • Built Environment / Energy Efficiency Measures
    We need to understand the effect that changes to Building Regulations, energy efficiency measures, and the way people heat and cook can impact on CO safety. This will be achieved by working closely with our industry colleagues to establish potential collaborative projects.
  • Other Fuels and Environments
    With no requirement to report CO incidents it is unclear what the level of risk and specific issues are in, for example, the solid fuel sector. We also need to work towards a better understanding of CO risk in non-domestic environments – including transportation, leisure environments, hospitality and catering, and other specific workplaces.

The main grants call, for larger projects above this threshold will take place later in the year, opening on 5th July.

Since 2013, the Trust has invested almost £3m in research projects and is committed to investing a further £1.5m in the next five years.

Baroness Finlay, Chair of the CO Research Trust said: “Important progress has been made to better understand the causes, detection, effects and treatment of exposure to carbon monoxide (CO). However, many questions remain. With the launch of our small grants call we welcome applications for small projects, to explore new and creative thinking around our areas of focus.”

With this in mind, the CO Research Trust has launched a new strategy for 2021-25, which sets out how the Trust will help find answers to those questions.

Baroness Finlay continued: “However, we are by no means limited to these topics. We recognise that professionals working in relevant sectors and those who have been personally affected by CO exposure will have greater insights than we do. We welcome hearing their views to inform our work.”

The Trust believes that funding research will make the greatest difference to everyone who is poisoned and exposed to CO, now and in the future.

The Trust’s vision is a world where people are not exposed to CO. Not only are people dying, but many are unaware that they are being poisoned at low levels, which can lead to adverse health outcomes.

Additionally, there is some evidence that suggests low level exposure may exacerbate other medical conditions.

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About the CO Research Trust

The CO Research Trust (formerly the Gas Safety Trust) is a registered charity which was established in 2005. The vision of the charity is a world where people are not exposed to carbon monoxide (CO).

For more information please contact;

Natalie Fleck

CO Research Trust

Follow us: @COResearchTrust

To address the focus of the CO Research Trust’s activity over the next five years in more detail, we have put together this blog post.

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