NIHR PHR - Public Health Intervention Response Studies Team

  • Van Der Graaf, Peter (CoI)
  • Goyder, Elisabeth (CoI)
  • Kee, Frank (CoI)
  • Jepson, Ruth (CoI)
  • Craig, Peter (CoI)

Project: Research

Project Details


Our team brings many years of experience in applied translational research in public health across three nations of the UK: Fuse Centre for Translational Research in Public Health in North East England; the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at Sheffield; the Centre of Excellence for Public Health in Northern Ireland; the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy and the MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit. Hosted by Fuse, we build on its existing expertise from the innovative rapid response and evaluation service AskFuse service and UK wide links to other NIHR infrastructures and draw on experience with the national Public Health Practice Evaluation Scheme (PHPES), a response mode funded evaluation programme operated by SPHR. We are complementing both schemes by building capacity in responsive research with researchers and knowledge brokers across jurisdictions that enables a rapid response to the research and evidence needs of local government (LG). Our team combines expertise in local and national policy making from across the UK and, while members are located in the north of the UK, our networks cover the whole UK and we will draw on capacity within these networks. We understand the challenges LG faces in mobilising research evidence in a climate of austerity and within a political organisation that requires a range of different types of evidence and research designs to provide local policy makers and practitioners with knowledge that is timely, relevant and useful to ensure interventions work in their local context. The challenges facing LG will be made more acute by the current COVID-19 pandemic, the implications for which will be profound to LG and the communities they serve, particularly in terms of health inequalities. We value co-production as a core mechanism for creating meaningful relationships and knowledge to mobilise and implement evidence to address the most important research questions facing partner organisations. We have extensive experience of working with public health partners to co-produce research and translate high quality research findings into relevant, timely and useful outputs to inform decision-making in LG, build capacity and upskill staff. We will also draw on our experience and that of the LG partners to ensure meaningful public and community involvement in all aspects of our work, following the NIHR SPHR Public Involvement and Engagement strategy. Our model of approach follows a 5-step process: brokerage, work allocation, research, reporting & knowledge mobilisation (KM), and continuous improvement, which includes Evaluability Assessment methodology and embedded research with LG practitioners. With a track record in translational research, wide-ranging methodological expertise and with extensive networks with LG across the UK, we will be able to respond quickly and tailor research to local needs in collaboration with policy makers and stakeholders. Effective dissemination and KM is critical in ensuring impact. We will draw on our experience, applying the NIHR SPHR six knowledge sharing principles, in innovative ways to disseminate and mobilise our research findings into policy and practice, working with LG and the public, and tailoring outputs to relevant audiences, including Government, policy, practice and the public. We will maximise impact by collaborating with the other response teams to align projects and facilitate programme evaluation.

Layman's description

We have brought together a team with many years of experience in working with local and national government, public health practitioners and communities to undertake research that can provide evidence needed to support the policies and programmes that will improve the health of our population and reduce health inequalities across our communities. The team is drawn from research centres with extensive track records in delivering projects which have had an impact on public health throughout the UK and based in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The team is led from Fuse (the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health in North East England) in collaboration with PaRC (the Public Health Practice and Research Collaborative for Yorkshire & Humber); the Centre of Excellence for Public Health in Northern Ireland; the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy and the MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit. We have well-established networks and relationships with policymakers, practitioners, public, private and third sector providers, as well as public health experts and researchers across the UK. This will ensure we have access to the expertise and capacity required to work with local government partners to deliver research and evaluation projects, producing evidence that can directly inform policy and practice. We will build on the expertise and experience of the rapid response and evaluation service AskFuse and learning from our involvement in delivering the Public Health Practice Evaluation Scheme (PHPES) developed by the NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR). All five partners have extensive experience of evaluating and innovative public health programmes and policies and of working closely with local stakeholders to produce evidence that can be put into practice and informs decision making. We understand the major challenges that face local government in being able to undertake local research and evaluation, particularly in a time of financial austerity. These challenges will be made even greater by the current COVID-19 pandemic, which will have an immense and long-term impact on the health and wellbeing of our communities, particularly for communities and individuals who are already less well-off and in poorer health. We will work closely with both the team and with local government colleagues to ensure that the programme works very flexibly and can respond rapidly to changing priorities and generate useful evidence that can inform decision making. We will also be able to use opportunities provided by working together on projects to build capacity and to make sure that local government colleagues have the skills they need to use practical evaluation methods. Our team is committed to ensuring meaningful public and community involvement in all aspects of our work and will be able to use our existing lay panels as well as involving local communities and individuals with relevant experience for specific projects, following the SPHR Public Involvement and Engagement strategy. To maximise the value and impact of the evidence produced by the programme, we will use a wide range of innovative ways to share research findings. We will involve practitioners and the public in tailoring outputs for different audiences. We will also work closely with the other PHIRST team to share expertise, experience and lessons learnt across the programme.
Effective start/end date1/08/2031/07/23


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