Fuse Director to lead £22 million NIHR Public Health Specialist Centre

Ashley Adamson is to lead a new Research Support Service (RSS) Public Health Specialist Centre, that will work with local authorities and other organisations to support public health research nationwide.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) announced today (4 August) that it will invest in the newly established Research Support Service (RSS), RSS Public Health Specialist Centre, as well as several new Policy Research Units (PRUs).

Newcastle University has received almost £9 million to lead an RSS Hub and a further £22 million to lead the RSS Public Health Specialist Centre.

Free support and advice 

The RSS will provide researchers, especially those applying for and in receipt of NIHR funding, with free access to support, advice, and expertise for their studies.

It will offer seamless support for all researchers in England working across the remit of the NIHR, from pre-application through to post-application phases.

Professor Ashley Adamson, Director of Fuse and of the new RSS Public Health Specialist Centre, said: "I am excited to be part of this significant new investment to support the developing research structures and research capacity outside of the NHS.

"We are looking forward to working with local authorities and others to develop and deliver this service to support public health research." 

Professor Adamson is also Director of the NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR) of which Fuse is a founding member, and lead of the NIHR Public Health Intervention Research Studies Teams (PHIRST) Fusion.

She added: "In Fuse we have 15 years of experience in working collaboratively with local authorities, developing strong academic partnerships to support a culture of research in local government. 

"This builds on the legacy of Fuse and our responsive research and evaluation service ‘AskFuse’, as well as the ongoing work of the NIHR SPHR, and our Fuse led PHIRST Fusion."

Assisting policy makers 

The funding comes in addition to Newcastle University receiving almost £6 million for leading two PRUs.

These units will play a pivotal role in giving the government, and arm’s length bodies, the best information and evidence possible when making policy decisions about health and social care.

One PRU in Newcastle will focus on how to age well across the life course.

Fuse Associate Professor Barbara Hanratty, director designate of the NIHR Healthy Ageing PRU, said: "I am delighted to be leading this Unit from Newcastle University.

"Our collaboration with the University of Manchester and the London School of Economics will provide policymakers with the information they need to make healthy ageing a reality for everyone.

"With world-leading expertise in ageing and inequalities research, Newcastle University will provide the ideal base for this Unit to make a difference.”

Newcastle will also be leading a PRU in Behavioural and Social Sciences, focusing on evidence to inform government decisions about health and social care.

Professor Falko Sniehotta, founding director of the Behavioural and Social Sciences PRU and former Fuse Senior Investigator, said: "We will continue to work with our team at Newcastle and our partners at UCL, Warwick and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine to develop robust, timely and relevant evidence using behavioural and social science to support the development of effective and equitable health and social care policy in England."

Fuse research lead Professor Emily Oliver, Co-lead/Director of the PRU added: "We're delighted to have been awarded funding to continue to lead this partnership and to work closely with UK policymakers to improve health and social care.

"The award recognises the expertise we have within the unit and across Newcastle in behavioural and social sciences, and in their application to policy challenges."

Acting on latest evidence 

The NIHR has awarded more than £100 million as part of their Policy Research Programme to 20 university based PRUs across England.

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Advisor Department for Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of NIHR, said: "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."


Adapted with thanks to Newcastle University

Last modified: Fri, 04 Aug 2023 17:06:48 BST