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New Evidence Synthesis Groups given £22.5m to investigate research gaps

Published: 15 May 2023

The NIHR’s Evidence Synthesis Programme has commissioned 9 new specialist research groups.

These Evidence Synthesis Groups (ESG) will investigate gaps in knowledge. Research areas will span healthcare, public health and social care. 

Each group has been granted £2.5 million over 5 years, totalling £22.5 million in funding. Together, the groups could work on up to 45 research projects per year.

Researchers believe their findings will help policy makers make more informed decisions. The groups will build on existing research. They will also identify areas which will need more research in the future.

These groups will carry out projects requested directly by stakeholders such as public health and social care providers (including NHS trusts), patient communities and members of the public. Other projects will be identified through NIHR processes. This can involve the ESP programme working closely with policy makers to make sure that chosen evidence syntheses address policy and practice needs. 

Speed and efficiency will be paramount. Research topics will be allocated without the need for a lengthy commissioning process.

The 9 commissioned ESGs are based at:

  • University of Exeter
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Warwick
  • University of York
  • University College London (UCL)
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Glasgow 
  • University of Sheffield

Professor Lesley Stewart, Programme Director for NIHR’s Evidence Synthesis Programme, said: “The groups provide breadth and depth of ‘on tap’ expertise in evidence synthesis that will enable the Evidence Synthesis Programme to respond quickly and efficiently to important health and care topics raised by stakeholders across the 4 nations of the UK. 

“Groups will combine research rigour with responsiveness to deliver high-quality evaluation and syntheses of existing research studies to match stakeholder needs. These will support evidence-informed decision-making and ultimately help improve the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and experience of health and social care provision.”

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