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National Prevention Research Initiative - Phase 3

This call is now closed for applications and is only available for reference purposes.

The National Prevention Research Initiative (NPRI) funds research aimed at improving health and at preventing diseases or conditions including cancer, heart and circulatory diseases, diabetes, obesity, stroke and dementia. The Initiative supports research on behaviours associated with significant risks to health, such as poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking and alcohol consumption, and on the environmental factors that influence those behaviours.

Funding partners

NPRI Phase 3 is supported by the following funding partners:


The NPRI welcomes approaches from other organisations wishing to join the consortium to help grow the initiative.


Strategic aims

The NPRI has three strategic aims:

  • To provide additional funds and infrastructure support to increase the amount of high-quality research aimed at improving health and preventing the incidence of new cases of major preventable diseases or conditions;
  • To encourage and facilitate cross-disciplinary collaborations in UK preventative research; and
  • To encourage research aimed at risk reduction, especially in communities or social groups with a high incidence of preventable diseases or conditions, and explore approaches to reduce inequalities in incidence of these diseases or conditions.


Focus of the Phase 3 call

Phase 3 will support cross-disciplinary research which develops or tests interventions that can potentially have a major impact on population health.

Research funded through the call will be translational (i.e. based on good science and relevant to practice or policy) and may:

  • develop interventions (including work to understand the underpinning basis);
  • test efficacy;
  • evaluate effectiveness and cost-effectiveness; and/or
  • evaluate methods for encouraging the uptake or implementation of interventions known to be effective.


Studies that focus on long-term behaviour change are particularly welcomed, and applicants should be able to indicate they have considered societal factors, health inequalities and the diversity of human culture and condition. Applications relating to multiple health behaviours or health outcomes will be received positively. Disease endpoints do not need to be measured or available.

Researchers are encouraged to involve relevant users in the development of their applications. Partnerships are encouraged where possible, for example between academia, the NHS, LEAs, local government, community groups, and industry. The proposed research must be relevant to multiple funding organisations and meet the strategic aims of the NPRI.

To be relevant to primary prevention research should focus on healthy individuals or target individuals at particular risk of any of the above health outcomes (for example obese individuals, or patients with impaired glucose tolerance). In addition, prevention of a disease or condition within a specific patient group where the preventable disease is either unrelated to or may be a future sequela of the patient’s current condition is also within the remit (for example prevention of cardiovascular disease in diabetic patients with no current cardiovascular disease diagnosis).

The call excludes aetiological and screening studies.


Funds available and types of awards

Up to £12 million is available through this call and awards will be made on the basis of full economic costs (FEC) at approximately 75 per cent to reflect collaborative funding from research councils, charities and government departments.

The financial support requested on individual applications should be calculated at 100 per cent FEC and determined on the basis of the proposed research and fully justified. Individual applications may be of any size, including ambitious high-value applications including those which might not normally be supported by a single organisation.

Awards will be for a maximum of five years.


Timetable and assessment procedure

The MRC will manage the call and administer the awards on behalf of the NPRI funding partners.

Full proposals will be peer reviewed, and applicants will have the opportunity to respond to referees’ comments. The NPRI Scientific Committee will make funding recommendations to the NPRI Prevention Research Advisory Board. Funding decisions will not be open to appeal, and feedback for unsuccessful applicants will be available but not prioritised.

  • Scientific committee meeting to assess applications: June 2009
  • Funding partners to make funding decisions: July 2009
  • Notification of outcome (fulls): July 2009
  • Earliest possible start date of projects: September 2009


Terms and conditions of award

Awards funded through NPRI will follow the standard MRC terms and conditions with a small number of additions or amendments relating to: the provision of annual reports; attendance at annual grant-holder meetings or other meetings as requested; publication and acknowledgement of support; and intellectual property and revenue sharing.

MRC terms and conditions spell out the responsibilities of the principal investigator and the host institution which will be required to agree to these as part of the award process. The principal investigator will be required to signify acceptance of these terms and conditions before an award is made. It will be a condition of all awards that any data originating from the study will be made publicly available.


Monitoring and performance

The progress of each project will be considered annually following the submission of an annual report. End of grant reports and financial statements will also be required and grant holders will need to keep an “impact file” after the award has terminated in order to help inform downstream assessment of the outcomes and impact of each project and the Initiative as a whole.


Membership of the NPRI Phase 3 Scientific Committee

  • Professor Ray Fitzpatrick, Chairman, Department of Public Health, University of Oxford;
  • Professor Waqar Ahmad, Scientific Member, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise, Middlesex University;
  • Professor Annie Anderson, Scientific Member, Centre for Public Health Nutrition Research, University of Dundee;
  • Mr Peter Ashley, Public Member
  • Dr Paul Aveyard, Scientific Member, Primary Care and General Practice, University of Birmingham;
  • Mr Stuart Blackwell, Public Member;
  • Professor John de Castro, Scientific Member, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sam Houston State University, Texas, USA;
  • Professor David Cohen, Scientific Member, Health Economics and Policy Research Unit, University of Glamorgan;
  • Professor Ken Fox, Scientific Member, Department of Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Bristol;
  • Mrs Janet Freeman, Public member
  • Professor Hans Gilljam, Scientific Member, Karolinska Institute Stockholm Centre for Public Health, Sweden;
  • Professor Larry Green, Scientific Member, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California at San Francisco, USA;
  • Mr Maurice Healy, Public Member;
  • Professor Frank Kee, Scientific Member, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast;
  • Professor Ann-Louise Kinmonth, Scientific Member, General Practice and Primary Care Research Unit, University of Cambridge;
  • Professor Kelli A Komro, Scientific Member, Department of Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, University of Florida, USA;
  • Professor Laurence Moore, Scientific Member, School of Social Sciences, University of Cardiff;
  • Mrs Diane Munday, Public Member;
  • Professor Margaret Reid, Scientific Member and Deputy Chair, Department of Public Health, University of Glasgow;
  • Professor Andrew Steptoe, Scientific Member, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London;
  • Dr Tommy Visscher, Scientific Member, Institute of Health Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands;
  • Professor Gareth Williams, Scientific Member, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University;
  • Professor Rhys Williams, Scientific Member, Centre for Health Information, Research and Evaluation, University of Wales Swansea;
  • Mr Roger Wilson, Public Member;
  • Professor Frank Windmeijer, Scientific Member, Department of Economics, University of Bristol.


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