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7 Sep 2020

£3.75 million secured to deliver national priority research programmes in prevention and inequalities

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The ARC North East and North Cumbria has been awarded a total of £3.75 million from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to lead two national priority research programmes over the next three years.

The funding will enable us to deliver two key strands of national research; addressing health and care inequalities across England (£1.875 million), and the early prevention of illness, including behaviours that put people at risk of health issues (£1.875 million).

It is part of an overall £13.25 million national investment from the NIHR, to fund a total of seven ‘national priority’ research programmes which will help solve some of the most pressing issues facing health and social care across the country, as well as in our region.

The NIHR is the nation’s largest funder of health and care research, and NIHR ARCs are regional collaborations between universities, health and social care providers, commissioners, charities and local authorities, with a total of 15 ARCs across England.

The ARC for the North East and North Cumbria will work in close partnership with other ARCs across the country, as well as with communities and service users, to carry out the work.

Louise Knowles, Acting Deputy Director of Research Faculty, Infrastructure and Growth at the Department of Health and Social Care, said:

“Through this funding we are seeking to galvanise collaborative efforts across the NIHR ARCs to tackle some of the highest priority challenges the health and care system is facing, and will face, over the coming years.

“The unique infrastructure and breadth of expertise provided by the NIHR ARCs, supported by this funding, will help ensure that our world-leading applied research can help transform the organisation and delivery of health, public health and care – leading to real benefits for patients, carers and the public at a supra-regional and national level.”

Professor Eileen Kaner, Director of the NIHR ARC for the North East and North Cumbria and Professor of Public Health and Primary Care Research at Newcastle University, added:

“This new and important work, supported by significant extra funding, will enable us to research and address some of our most pressing health and care challenges, both locally and nationally. It’s a privilege to be selected to lead on these two priority areas of research, and we are looking forward to working collaboratively with our colleagues locally and across the country, to deliver research that can be used directly in our communities to make a real difference.”

The NIHR ARC for the North East and North Cumbria will lead research in the following two priority areas, working closely and collaboratively with a number of other ARCs:

  • Prevention, including behavioural risk factors – £1.875 million

Working collaboratively with ARCs across the country, funding will support further research into factors which influence and contribute to people living a longer, healthier life through both primary and secondary disease prevention. This will include promoting healthier childhoods and reducing multi-morbidities, obesity and mental ill-health across the life course. Work will support the Government’s ‘Grand Challenge’ objective to support people to enjoy at least five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and poorest.

The work will be led by Professor Ashley Adamson, Professor of Public Health Nutrition at Newcastle University, and National Director of the NIHR School for Public Health Research.

  • Health and care inequalities – £1.875 million

Working closely with the NIHR ARC Yorkshire and Humber, as well as with a number of other ARCs, funding will support research into tackling health and care inequalities across the country. The increasing health inequalities in England, with life expectancy gaps of up to nine years between the most and least deprived neighbourhoods, are having a major impact on the wellbeing of communities, health and care services, and the economy. This extra funding will enable research and evaluation that will support the health and care system nationally and regionally to reduce these inequalities.

The work will be led by Professor Clare Bambra, Professor of Public Health at Newcastle University and a leading social scientist with expertise across health politics and policy, health geography and social epidemiology.

The seven national priority areas of research which have been funded, are:

  • Children’s health and maternity
  • Mental health, including children and young people’s mental health
  • Adult social care and social work
  • Prevention, including behavioural risk factors
  • Multimorbidity
  • Health and care inequalities
  • Healthy ageing, including dementia and frailty


See the full list of ARCs leading and collaborating on each priority area

Read the national press release