Where the Pain Collaborative Network started

In 2019, Crohn’s & Colitis UK launched an exciting research project into pain. We know that many people with Crohn’s and Colitis suffer from pain, even when they’re in remission.

Pain is a debilitating symptom; by identifying some of the key questions that remain unanswered in this area and driving more research into it, we aim to improve how pain is managed and the quality of life for people with Crohn’s and Colitis who experience it.

So far, we have invested more than £400,000 into research projects specifically focused on pain to help reach this goal.

We also created a research network called the ‘Pain Collaborative Research Network’ to promote and facilitate the discussion and exchange of ideas on pain in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which has been identified as an area of unmet need by researchers, clinicians and most importantly patients. The idea is to create opportunities for research collaboration across scientific disciplines and to stimulate research within this field.


I am delighted to be sitting on the Steering Group and hope that I can combine my experiences as both a patient and a research scientist with a background in molecular and cell biology to offer some insight into areas of focus for the Pain Collaborative Network

Dr Gill Holdsworth
Trustee, Crohn's & Colitis UK

The Pain Steering Group has two key objectives:

  • To help identify underdeveloped areas of research in the field of pain management and IBD.
  • To help shape the Pain Collaborative Network. With their knowledge and expertise, the Steering Group will recommend research projects for funding that they consider to be valuable in this field. Any pain projects we fund will be approved by our Research Strategy and Funding Committee following an external peer review process, certified as best practice by the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC).

The inaugural meeting of the Steering Group was held on the 23rd floor of The Shard (don’t look down!), and we gratefully received the space on a complimentary basis through the work of our brilliant office volunteer, Jennie.

A meeting of amazing minds took place, with rich discussions about pain and IBD and exciting ideas bouncing around the room. The meeting ended with a clear direction on where to take our pain project and how to shape our targeted research call.

Meet the members of the Pain Collaborative Steering Group here.


We know that pain rates highly as one of the worst symptoms for people with Crohn’s and Colitis, and we want to take steps to improve this. The first meeting of the Pain Collaborative Steering Group was a huge success. It was incredible to have so many leading experts in the same room, and their knowledge will be vital in making sure our pain project delivers the best outcomes for patients.

Nikul Bakshi
Research Programme Lead, Crohn's & Colitis UK