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.

The Policy Research Programme Round 20 shall be opening 6 March 2018. 


  Stage 1 Stage 2 (If invited)
Competition Launch 6 March 2018 May 2018
Submission Deadline 17 April 2018 19 June 2018
Submission Outcome May 2018 July 2018


Barriers and enablers to attendance at screening for diabetic retinopathy

Proposals for a single research project to evaluate and inform supplementary prescribing to look at barriers and enablers to attendance at screening for diabetic retinopathy. This is a significant opportunity to inform national policy and practice within the NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme.

Please find the research specification here.

Understanding the scale and nature of avoidable harm in prison healthcare

Proposals for a single research project to determine the scale and nature of avoidable harm in provision of prisoner healthcare services in England. This is a significant opportunity to inform policy in this area of key importance to patients and public, and practitioners. Applicants should be aware of other relevant policy research being commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care, including psychoactive substance in prisons, mental health management in prisons, and avoidable harm in primary care.

Please find the research specification here.

Congenital heart disease (CHD) – outcomes and quality measures

Proposals for a single research project to help develop a better understanding of health outcomes for people undergoing procedures to treat congenital heart disease (CHD). This is a significant opportunity to deliver a research project that will directly inform policy development and future decision making about the delivery and commissioning of CHD services across England.

Please find the research specification here.  

 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.


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.   


Contact us

We offer a wide variety of assistance during all stages of the research process. If in doubt, please get in touch.