Policy Research Programme

Our Policy Research Programme (PRP) commissions high quality research that offers value for money and delivers robust, relevant, timely, accessible and intelligible evidence to ministers and Arms-Length Bodies (ALBs).

The programme works closely with the Department of Health (DH) Science, Research and Evidence (SRE) Directorate to support policy makers in England to make informed decisions for the benefit of the general population, patients and the NHS. Its priorities are discussed by the Department’s R&D Committee, chaired by the DH Chief Scientific Adviser, and high priority needs are then met by commissioning the research.

Priorities are also informed by the Department’s strategic objectives and business plans, are influenced by stakeholder consultation and expert advice, and are continually evolving.

Scope

PRP-funded research will normally:

  • Provide robust evidence to inform policy development and implementation
  • Evaluate policies, including the evaluation of pilots before policies are fully implemented
  • Commission research evidence for policy-making over the longer term.

Funding 

The programme funds research in three main ways:

  • Long term programmes of research in academic Policy Research Units (PRUs), designed to meet the longer-term research needs of DH as well as to provide a rapid response function
  • Large-scale initiatives comprising linked groups of studies, providing a range of empirical evidence on a key policy area or issue
  • Single projects and literature or scoping reviews.