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18 Dec 2020

Reflecting on 2020, and looking forward to 2021

Festive tree

ARC North East and North Cumbria Director, Professor Eileen Kaner and Deputy Director, Professor Chris Price, look back at an eventful 2020, and forward to 2021.

Christmas is often a time for reflection, and this year it feels even more important to pause and look back upon what has been an ‘unusual’ year, as we move into 2021.

Despite the individual, organisational and national challenges we’ve faced, we have still been able to achieve a huge amount collectively as an Applied Research Collaboration – and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued work in such exceptional circumstances.

Collectively we have continued with our commitment to work together to improve the health and wellbeing of people in our region, by adapting to new ways of working.

This has included taking our events ‘online’, successfully hosting five local theme events and two national ARC North East and North Cumbria-led events, attracting more than 800 delegates in total. We already have a number of events planned for the early months of 2021.

During 2020, we were able to fund 31 innovative and important pieces of research through our Open Funding Competition, and we’ll be launching our next Open Funding Competition in the spring of 2021, so watch this space for further details.

We’ve also created a network of ARC Fellows across the region, who have started work on a range of projects seeking to improve the wellbeing of a diverse group of regional communities.

This year has truly highlighted the very significant contribution that anyone involved in health and social care work and research, can make to our society. In fact, the importance of applied health research has never been more in the spotlight.

COVID-19 has highlighted many of the areas that our research work is concerned with – including health inequalities, public and population health, behaviour change, multi-morbidity, the challenges faced by our ageing population, supporting children and families, nutrition and food poverty, digital exclusion, mental health and more. At the same time, we have started work to address the health and care challenges which will continue to be priorities for our region and nationally, in the longer term.

As we make plans for 2021, let us keep in mind how much progress we have been able to make in such a difficult year, and how important our work will continue to be as we navigate the health and social care challenges that lie ahead.

With very best wishes for a peaceful and restful Christmas and New Year.

Professor Eileen Kaner, Director, ARC North East and North Cumbria
Professor Chris Price, Deputy Director, ARC North East and North Cumbria