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Public Health Intervention Responsive Studies Teams (PHIRST) call for Local Authority Initiatives



  • For help with your application contact
  • For more information about the funding Programme, visit the PHR Page

Many of the currently advertised PHR Programme funding opportunities may be impacted by and can be related to the COVID-19 situation. For research proposals focused primarily on COVID-19 interventions please apply via the NIHR COVID-19 Urgent Public Health Research process.

The Public Health Research Programme are accepting Expressions of Interest from Local Government for research ideas for the Public Health Intervention Responsive Studies Teams (PHIRST).

We invite Local Authorities in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland to submit an expression of interest to identify specific initiatives within their work programmes that will benefit from research or evaluation input. The Public Health Research Programme has appointed two academic teams (the ‘PHIRST teams’) that are ready to work with local authorities on priority initiatives. The academic teams are fully funded to co-design and undertake robust and independent research in partnership with local authorities and their partners.

The purpose of this call is to identify and prioritise local authority initiatives which have the potential to impact on health, and which require research input. We anticipate high demand and will prioritise local authority initiatives:

  • that are likely to lead to important impacts on population health
  • that are likely to be widely generalisable
  • where there is an identified need for the initiative
  • where the initiative is readily evaluable
  • where the source of the initiative funding is identified and preferably secured
  • where research will provide timely evidence to underpin policy or practice

Those initiatives selected for research input will be allocated to one of our two PHIRST teams which are ready to work with local authorities to co-produce research to underpin priority initiatives. The research (but not the initiative itself) will be fully funded by the NIHR Public Health Research (PHR) Programme.

How to apply

In order to apply you will need to:

  1. carefully review the specification document
  2. complete the Expression of Interest (EoI) Word form 
  3. email it to by 1pm, 9 June 2020.

Guidance on what to include in the expression of interest form is within the specification document.