What is RESPIRE?

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), RESPIRE is a Global Health Research Unit at The University of Edinburgh, focusing on respiratory health in Asia 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.

IPCRG is a partner in the RESPIRE collaboration which spans south Asia, working with our IPCRG colleagues and other partner organisations in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and Pakistan, led by 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.

IPCRG's role is:

1. Siân Williams co-leads the stakeholder engagement platform with Devi Sridhar, from University of Edinburgh, working closely with our colleagues in South Asia. The role is to help map and analyse stakeholders and develop appropriate activities to enable them to contribute throughout the research process from problem identification and prioritisation, to implementation, data analysis, interpretation of results, dissemination and planning for sustainability of the research and its findings to maximise impact.

2. To lead two schools (now online): qualitative research school for clinicians; leadership school.

3. To develop a massive open online course (MOOC) with the University of Edinburgh and FutureLearn on the recognition, diagnosis and management of chronic respiratory disease.


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


The world-leading RESPIRE Unit will

  • Map and collate continuing and emerging respiratory challenges
  • Prioritise existing evidence-based interventions that have the potential to be adapted to reduce mortality/morbidity in the partner countries
  • Support local adaption/tailoring of interventions for deployment in low-resource environments and catalyse developmental work in areas of unmet need
  • Support local implementation efforts and evaluation of programmes of work
  • 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’).

IPCRG partners

Bangladesh Primary Care Respiratory Society

University of Malaya, including our IPCRG director Ee Ming Khoo 

Allergy and Asthma Institute, Pakistan led by Osman Yusuf, life member of IPCRG

Sundeep Salvi and colleagues, Pune

Publications included here (updated December 2023).

Find out more about RESPIRE at