NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

What is RESPIRE?

Funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), RESPIRE is a Global Health Research Unit focusing on respiratory health in Asia.

Video: RESPIRE Animation 2020
RESPIRE Animation 2020 with RESPIRE Global social channels at the end. English subtitles

The NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE) at The University of Edinburgh was funded as part of the NIHR Global Health Research Programme in 2016/17.  It is one of 13 Units funded across the UK, and one of two at the University of Edinburgh.

The RESPIRE collaboration spans across Asia with organisations in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and Pakistan working in partnership with the University of Edinburgh. Together, we seek to identify and tackle some of the biggest causes of illness and death in the region – respiratory diseases.

The term respiratory disease covers a range of conditions which affect the lungs and breathing. They can be acute conditions (short term, typically starting suddenly) or chronic conditions (long term). Both have significant implications for the health and economy of countries across the globe.


To reduce the impact and number of deaths caused by respiratory diseases in Asia


Our world-leading Unit will

  1. Map and collate continuing and emerging respiratory challenges
  2. Prioritise existing evidence-based interventions that have the potential to be adapted to reduce mortality/morbidity in the partner countries
  3. Support local adaption/tailoring of interventions for deployment in low-resource environments and catalyse developmental work in areas of unmet need
  4. Support local implementation efforts and evaluation of programmes of work
  5. Identify the best delivery mechanisms for long-term delivery/scaling-up

How will RESPIRE achieve its aims?

Our research projects are split into two programmes. The first programme focuses on acute lower respiratory tract infectious disorders, such as pneumonia. The second programme looks at chronic respiratory conditions which develop and worsen over time. This latter group includes diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) and lung cancer.

In addition to the two programmes of research, we have ‘supporting platforms’ that increase the ability of our partners to plan, undertake and implement the findings of research in their countries. These three platforms focus on

  • how to work with partners (‘Stakeholder Engagement and Governance’)
  • increasing the number of health professionals and researchers who are trained to undertake high quality research (‘Training and Capacity Development’) and
  • maximising the uses that research data can be put to in safe and secure ways (‘Methodology and Data Science’).

RESPIRE launch in the news

News item on the launch of RESPIRE on the Usher Institute website

News item on the launch of RESPIRE on the icddr,b website

STV news on the launch of RESPIRE