NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

What is RESPIRE?

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

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. After a successful first phase with the four partner countries of Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and Pakistan, RESPIRE was awarded further funding to carry out research until 2026, expanding the partnership to include organisations in Bhutan, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. 

Led by the University of Edinburgh and the Universiti Malaya, we aim to deliver low-cost, scalable policy and clinical interventions to reduce respiratory disease and death in Asia.

The term respiratory disease covers a range of conditions which affect the lungs and breathing. These conditions are one of the three leading causes of death in Asia and globally. Despite this, knowledge and awareness of respiratory diseases is low, and they do not get the priority attention they need from health systems, policymakers and funding agencies. 


To reduce the number of deaths and wider health and societal impacts from respiratory diseases in some of the world’s most disadvantaged populations. 


Our world-leading Unit will: 

  1. Build research capacity in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) 

  1. Ensure research is driven by the needs/priorities of LMIC populations 

  1. Build equitable/respectful partnerships 

  1. Engage stakeholders, including communities 

  1. Strengthen capacity to translate research findings into impact 

How will RESPIRE achieve its aims?

Our research is split into three programmes. The first programme focuses on respiratory infections such as tuberculosis, and pneumonia, the leading cause of child death after the first month of life. The second programme looks at non-communicable respiratory diseases, like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is the third leading cause of death in Asia and worldwide. The third programme addresses the preventable risk factors for respiratory conditions, e.g. tobacco smoking and exposure to air pollution, which are estimated to underlie many million deaths globally each year.  

In addition to the three programmes of research, we have cross-cutting platforms that increase the ability of our partners to plan, undertake and implement the findings of research in their countries. These four platforms focus on: 

  • How to work with partners (stakeholder and community engagement and involvement) 

  • Increasing the number of health professionals and researchers who are trained to undertake high quality research (education and capacity building)  

  • Maximising the use and value of research data by sharing in safe and secure ways (open science, data and methodologies) 

  • Enable eHealth innovations to increase access to accurate information, facilitate healthcare delivery and put evidence-based measures into practice (digital health and innovation) 

These platforms are brought together by the Knowledge Mobilisation Hub which aims to maximise connections and collaborations across the RESPIRE programme.  


Watch our animation about the first phase of RESPIRE:

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