Funding of £10 million for prevention research
The NIHR Three Research Schools have been awarded £10m of funding to deliver a programme of prevention research from 2023–2027. The programme aims to develop, evaluate and understand how to implement interventions which promote health and wellbeing, treat conditions early, and manage health problems to prevent severe disease.
The NIHR Three Research Schools is a collaboration between the Schools for Public Health Research (SPHR), Primary Care Research (SPCR), and Social Care Research (SSCR). Together, the Three Schools are currently delivering two other collaborative programmes of work on Mental Health and Dementia.
In January, the Department for Health and Social Care published its updated areas of research interest outlining where research and innovation could facilitate a step change in how complex issues are addressed at a strategic policy level. The first of these three areas of research interest is early action to prevent poor health outcomes.
In the UK, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, many cancers and cardiovascular diseases is increasing. The costs of these diseases to the individual, the health and social care systems and economy are large. Research is urgently needed about how best to prevent disease and support early diagnosis, and so improve population health and wellbeing. In response to this, the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has awarded the Three Schools £10m to deliver a programme of prevention research.
Professor Ashley Adamson, Director of the School for Public Health Research who will lead the Prevention Programme, says:
“The NIHR Schools for Public Health, Primary Care and Social Care Research are uniquely placed to deliver a programme of prevention research, the findings of which will be useful, accessible, and easily discoverable. With a demonstrable track record in delivering cross-School research programmes in Mental Health and Dementia research since 2021, we will draw on our academic excellence, existing networks with practice, policy and public partners and structures to commission high quality research to make a significant contribution to the evidence base for prevention research and expedite the step change set out in the DHSC vision to take early action to prevent poor health and wellbeing outcomes.”
The cross-school collaboration programme aims to deliver research that will accelerate the adoption and scale of innovation aimed at prevention or early diagnosis in the health and social care systems.
The research will explore how to promote economic growth to deliver a healthier workforce, more efficient NHS and social care sectors and a highly skilled health and social care workforce. It will also investigate how to reduce health and wellbeing disparities and improve outcomes for the most disadvantaged in the population.
The programme will have a strong emphasis on capacity building, particularly for early career researchers. It will also encourage practitioners in public health, primary care and social care to participate in prevention research as a step towards establishing their own longer-term research careers and help address gaps between research and practice.
In the first few months of the programme, workshops and conversations will take place between academics, practitioners, users, carers, patients and other experts by experience, drawing from expertise across the three Schools. This will help identify, prioritise and design high-quality research that can be translated into benefits and effective interventions.
To stay updated on this programme, keep an eye on the SPHR website.