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 and Social Care (DHSC) 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 DHSC 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.

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.   

Current Opportunities 

 The following calls will close 29 January 2019. Research Specifications available on the right hand side.

Implementation and Assessment of Mandatory Calorie Labelling in the Out-of-Home Sector 

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme (PRP) invites proposals for a single research project to assess the implementation and assessment of proposed mandatory calorie labelling in the out-of-home (OOH) sector in England.

The Government has recently consulted on mandatory calorie labelling in the OOH sector. This aim of the policy is to ensure that consumers have access to clear and accurate information about the calorie content of the food and drink that they and their families purchase and consume. The details of this policy are subject to the consultation. This is a significant opportunity to support policymakers in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to reduce childhood obesity by helping people to make informed, healthier choices.

Representativeness of Adult Social Care Surveys

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme (PRP) invites proposals for a single research project to assess the representativeness of surveys currently used to understand the experience of adult social care users and carers in England.

Contact us

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