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New public health research partnerships to get £47.5 million


13 partnerships between universities and Public Health England will share funding worth £47.5 million for health protection research.

Universities competed for the money - from existing research funding – in a competition run by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and funded by the Department of Health. The successful applications have now been announced by the department.


The contracts for the new NIHR Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs) will run for 5 years from 1 April 2014.


Funding for each Unit will be held by a university in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) to enable collaboration between world class research in academia and PHE.


Applications were assessed by an international panel. Thirteen successful applications have been offered funding to form Units across 12 public health priority areas, ranging from immunisation to radiation hazards. The outcome means there will be strengthened research focus in key areas, such as emergency preparedness and response, and the impact of environmental hazards.


The 12 priority areas and the successful university applicants, in partnership with PHE, are:
  • Environmental Change and Health – London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with Exeter University and University College London
  • Impact of Environmental Hazards – King’s College London with Imperial College London Health
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response – King’s College London with Newcastle University and University of East Anglia
  • Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards – Newcastle University
  • Emerging Infections (including zoonoses) and Biological Threats – University of Liverpool with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  • Immunisation – London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Respiratory infections – Imperial College London with Imperial College NHS Trust and Birmingham University
  • Gastrointestinal infections – University of Liverpool with University of East Anglia, University of Oxford, and Institute of Food Research
  • Blood-borne and Sexually Transmitted Infections – University College London with London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance – Imperial College London with Wellcome Sanger Institute, NWL Academic Health Science Network, and Cambridge Veterinary School
  • Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance – University of Oxford with Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency
  • Development of Modelling Methodology – Imperial College London
  • Evaluation of Interventions – University of Bristol with University College London, Cambridge MRC Biostatistics Unit, and University of the West of England


Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said:


"These partnerships will bring together research from academia and Public Health England to ensure world class health protection research in England.


"By focusing on research across a wide range of public health areas, the units will take new scientific discoveries from the lab to benefits for patients and the public. I believe they will have a significant impact on the health of the population.”


Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said:


"These innovative public health research partnerships confirm the place of health protection research right up where it needs to be, alongside the very best in clinical medicine. We are incredibly grateful to the National Institute for Health Research and the Chief Medical Officer for guiding us to this end, and of course the successful University applicants.”

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