research unit

£100m funding from NIHR for 20 new Policy Research Units

20 new Policy Research Units (PRUs) across the country will receive a share of £100 million from the National Institute for Health and Care Research’s Policy Research Programme, as part of efforts to tackle key health and social care issues.

Each university-based unit will establish a team of researchers from various collaborating institutions, with the teams to work together to develop research programmes that provide evidence for “current and emerging research priorities”. These priorities include mental health; dementia and neurodegeneration; reproductive health; additions; end-of-life care; cancer; and children and families.

NIHR says that the units offer the Department of Health and Social Care “direct access to topic academics in various fields” and states that PRUs have been “instrumental in shaping a range of policies”, providing a “long-term resource for policy research and a rapid response service to provide evidence for emerging policy needs”.

Set to begin work in January 2024, each PRU will receive £3-5.5 million over a three to five year contract.

Professor Lucy Chappell, chief scientific advisor for the Department of Health and Social Care and chief executive of the NIHR, comments: “In the NIHR, we have a range of ways to make sure that health and care research benefits patients and the public. The NIHR’s new Policy Research Units are designed to provide strong evaluation of policy. This helps government and related organisations to be able to act on the latest evidence when making decisions about health and social care that could impact us all.”

Last year, NIHR awarded £161 million to fund 28 NIHR Clinical Research Facilities (CRFs) nationally, with a view to expand the delivery of early phase clinical research in NHS hospitals across England.

More information, including the institutions involved in each PRU, can be found here.