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York researchers recognised with national award for Covid work in Bradford

Posted on 5 October 2021

Academics from the University of York who helped inform Bradford Council’s response to the Covid pandemic as part of a city-wide partnership have been recognised with a national award.

Bradford SkylineThe partnership investigated the impact of COVID on the residents of Bradford.

In March 2020, academics from the Department of Health Sciences joined forces with Bradford Council and other partners to form the Bradford Covid Scientific Advisory Group (C-SAG).

The partnership sought an evidence-based response to the pandemic to help address challenges faced by vulnerable people and families across the district.

Also known as ‘Bradford SAGE’, C-SAG provided expert input and advice to the local response, and analysed data to boost understanding of local trends, issues, and concerns during the pandemic.

The partnership has now been recognised with the national Local Government award from the Municipal Journal for Innovation in Building Diversity.


C-SAG’s investigated how Covid affected the life of children and families, and provided insights on epidemiology, and the impacts of the disease on wider healthcare services. They also provided insight to support the rollout of vaccinations across the District.

Several University of York academics contributed to C-SAG, including:

Professor Kate Pickett, who contributed to the research on children, said “Although they have been relatively unaffected by the disease itself, children - and especially those from deprived and ethnically diverse backgrounds - have suffered from the loss of schooling and social isolation, reduced opportunities for physical activity and social stimulation, and more exposure to insecurities of family income, food, and secure housing.

"C-SAG conducted repeated surveys to track these children’s experiences of lockdowns and other Covid restrictions, and we've conducted qualitative studies by talking to children about their worries, but also the positive things experienced by some children such as spending more time with their families."


C-SAG worked with a range of partners, including community champions, health care practitioners, faith leaders, youth workers, and council ward officers.

The partnership also led a campaign to counter 'Fake News' and established hubs to boost vaccine take-up in all of the district’s diverse communities.

Data-led approach

Awarding the partnership, the judges said: "This entry highlighted the strength of local partnerships, and leveraging research and intelligence infrastructure during the early stages of the pandemic to deliver effective data-led public health interventions that saved many lives."

The judges took particular note of the success at recruiting ethnically diverse participants to COVID-19 trials, which is of critical importance to the area, and not replicated in many research trials elsewhere.

They also commended how their data-led approach is now being used to tackle other long-standing health inequalities in Bradford.

Further information:

Bradford’s COVID Scientific Advisory Group (CSAG)’s report can be read here.

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About this research

In response to the pandemic, C-SAG formed to analyse the latest evidence to support life-saving decisions across the city of Bradford.

The research was carried out by University of York academics and Bradford Council, working with the Centre for Applied Education Research, Bradford Teaching Hospitals and the Bradford Institute for Health Research.

Explore more of our research.