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New research funding to help shape future health and social care policies

Posted on 1 August 2023

The University of York’s Centre for Health Economics (CHE) has been awarded £11m funding by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to lead two Policy Research Units (PRUs).

A doctor looking at medical images on a computer screen

The units are five-year research programmes to support policy makers in the Department of Health and Social Care, and their arm’s length bodies including NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. The PRUs address longer-term policy research needs but also respond to emerging and rapid policy requests.

The Economic Methods of Evaluation in Health & Care Intervention PRU (EEPRU) has been awarded jointly to York and the University of Sheffield. Its remit is to assess the value for money of treatments, medical technologies, services and policies relating to health and social care. It develops methods for evaluation and policy frameworks to ensure value for money is achieved from public funding.

The Economics of Health and Social Care Systems PRU (ESHCRU) has been awarded to York in collaboration with the London School of Economics and Political Science. Its remit is to apply insights from the discipline of economics to tackle long-standing issues facing the health and social care system, including improving the way its different parts interact.

Professor Mark Sculpher, Director of CHE and Co-Director of EEPRU, said: “CHE has now been awarded funding for these two units since 2010, which has provided a wonderful platform to undertake long-term research which has directly informed policy decisions.”

“It’s an extraordinary privilege to receive this award,” added Professor Anne Mason, Director of ESHCRU. “At this extremely challenging time for the NHS and for social care, it’s an honour to play our part to support the system to recover from the pandemic, and help it move towards a more resilient and sustainable future.”

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Advisor, DHSC Chief Executive of NIHR, said: “In the NIHR, we have a range of ways to make sure that health and care research benefits patients and the public. 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.”

Women’s Health Strategy Minister Maria Caulfield said: “We’re investing £100 million into 20 new research hubs that will bring together key experts to tackle a range of issues including end of life care, addictions, dementia, and neurodegeneration.”

The University of York has also been funded to contribute to three other PRUs, in public health, dementia and neurodegeneration, and mental health.

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Further information:

The mission of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. They do this by:

  • Funding high quality, timely research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care;
  • Investing in world-class expertise, facilities and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services;
  • Partnering with patients, service users, carers and communities, improving the relevance, quality and impact of our research;
  • Attracting, training and supporting the best researchers to tackle complex health and social care challenges;
  • Collaborating with other public funders, charities and industry to help shape a cohesive and globally competitive research system;
  • Funding applied global health research and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle income countries.

NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. Its work in low and middle income countries is principally funded through UK Aid from the UK government.

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