NIHR invests £55m to tackle health inequalities and outcomes

Millions of people in the UK are set to benefit from the second wave of funding

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has announced a further £55m investment into 11 new Health Determinants Research Collaborations (HDRCs).

Millions of people are set to benefit from the second wave of funding to tackle health inequalities and improve health outcomes across the UK.

HDRCs work to boost research capacity and capability within local government and use research findings to understand how decisions impact health and health inequalities by benefitting underserved communities, including a mixture of urban, rural and coastal areas.

Operating for the next five years, the new HDRCs build upon 13 successful HDRCs that were previously established as part of the first wave of funding.

Each HDRC is hosted by a single local authority that works with its local university or institutions, bringing together local government knowledge with research skills from the academic community.

The 11 new research collaborations are expected to go live as of 1 January 2024, bringing the total number of live HDRCs to 24.

Newly funded HDRCs include Southampton City Council, Liverpool City Council, Somerset Council, Essex Country Council, North Yorkshire Council and Cornwall Council.

From 1 January 2025, a further six HDRCs will commence, provided the agreed criteria are met during their development year along with a recurring annual investment of £30m.

The six HDRCs include Manchester City Council, Portsmouth City Council, Torfaen County Borough Council, Leicestershire County Council, Glasgow City Council and Surrey County Council.

Additionally, the HDRCs have the potential to stimulate economic growth and regeneration in some of the most deprived areas of the UK and could reduce pressure on NHS services by improving public health.

Professor Brian Ferguson, director of the NIHR Public Health Research Programme, said: “HDRC innovation will boost partnerships between local government and the academic sector, enabling local authorities to make better evidence-informed decisions – critical given the current pressures on funding.

“The areas we are supporting have a tremendous opportunity to make a lasting impact on health inequalities and wider deprivation.”

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