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New Programme Director for NIHR Global Health Research announced

Professor Kara Hanson

Published: 25 May 2023

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has appointed Professor Kara Hanson as the NIHR's first Programme Director for Global Health Research. She will begin this newly-created role in July 2023.

Professor Hanson will lead the NIHR Global Health Research programme, which funds applied health research and training to meet the needs of people in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

Professor Hanson is an internationally recognised leader in global health research. She is Professor of Health System Economics and Dean of the Faculty of Public Health and Policy at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is also President-Elect of the International Health Economics Association. 

Raising the profile and impact of the NIHR’s global health research

Professor Hanson will have scientific oversight of the Global Health Research programme. This will include raising the profile and impact of global health research. She will support the delivery of NIHR’s commitment to invest in researchers at all career stages.

Professor Hanson said: “I am very pleased to be joining as the inaugural Programme Director, and look forward to working with the NIHR team to further develop the NIHR’s contribution to global health research.

“Achieving our strategic objectives requires considering both what research we fund, and how our funded research is conducted – including equitable partnerships and effective capacity strengthening. We have a wonderful opportunity through NIHR’s Global Health Research portfolio to sustain and further develop the UK’s reputation for excellent, impactful global health research.”

NIHR working globally

The NIHR Global Health Research programme was established in 2016. It funds work in over 50 LMICs, using UK Official Development Assistance.

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Adviser to DHSC, and CEO of the NIHR said: “We are delighted to welcome Professor Hanson as our first-ever Programme Director for Global Health Research. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience which will help guide the development of NIHR’s vital Global Health Research portfolio.

“Global health research is an important priority for NIHR. We want to strengthen global research capacity and help build resilience in health systems to address the changing burden of disease and tackle future threats.”

The NIHR Global Health Research portfolio supports partnerships between UK and LMIC researchers. The NIHR runs five major funding programmes, and has strategic partnerships with other global funding partners. These include the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, and Grand Challenges Canada’s Global Mental Health Programme.

NIHR also trains and develops future leaders in applied global health research to support research and career pathways. So far, it has helped support more than 350 researchers from LMICs to progress their career in global health.

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