Published: 02 July 2018
The NIHR has launched a new set of 13 NIHR Policy Research Units to undertake research to inform decision-making by government and arms-length bodies.
The £65 million investment over five years will ensure that the government and arms-length bodies have the best possible information and evidence available when making policy decisions about health and social care.
The 13 new NIHR units will provide both a long-term resource for policy research and a rapid-response service to provide evidence for emerging policy needs. The units, which are considered to be an exemplar of good practice in government, will also offer advice to policy makers and analysts on the evidence base and options for policy development.
The units will cover a range of specialisms and conditions, such as behavioural science, adult social care, older people and frailty, and cancer awareness, screening and early diagnosis.
Each university-based NIHR Policy Research Unit will host a multidisciplinary team of researchers from collaborating institutions, to create a critical mass of experts for research in priority areas for health and social care policy.
The units will work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care to determine priorities and provide evidence directly to the Secretary of State for Health, government departments and arms-length bodies, such as NHS England and Public Health England.
Examples of the types of research topics the units may undertake include how behavioural science can help maximise the impact of clinical consultations; how outcomes of social care services vary for different groups of people; and how social inequalities affect the uptake of cancer screening.
Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health and Social Care, said:
“Patients and the public deserve a healthcare system that is informed by the latest research and evidence. The NIHR Policy Research Units will make sure that Government decisions affecting our health and care are robust and evidence based.”
These new units, which will begin work in January 2019, join two existing units in mental health and obesity.