Research

UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP) - Initiative Launch

An alliance of research funders including charities, Research Councils and the UK Health Departments are pooling resources to support the UK Prevention Research Partnership, a new initiative in prevention research. A funding call will follow later in 2017. The prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, respiratory disease, cancer and poor mental health, is increasing. This not only affects health and quality of life, but as people age it places an unsustainable burden on the UK’s economy and its health and social care systems.

The NCDs are closely associated with a number of common ‘upstream’ influences, such as the built and natural environment (including housing and air quality); employment, education, welfare, transport, health and social care, and communication systems; and the policies of local and central government and of commercial enterprises. Modifications in such systems and environments could be more cost effective in reducing NCDs in the population than individually focused health promotion initiatives. The challenge is to develop better, robust knowledge, and interventions, that work at these higher levels.

The UKPRP will approach this challenge through a £40m - £50m initiative to support multidisciplinary research teams investigating the upstream and environmental determinants of health relevant to a range of NCDs. Unravelling these complex interactions, and using the understanding to sustainably improve the health of the public and narrow health inequalities, requires an integrated approach from a broad range of disciplines. To help ensure impact there will be a focus on stimulating new multi-disciplinary research collaborations, working with policy makers, providers and professionals, and with a range of industry sectors, to help to deliver sustainable, implementable and cost effective solutions. The UKPRP also aims to build on the emerging opportunities in technology and data science and will align closely with aspirations laid out in the Academy of Medical Sciences report “Improving the health of the public by 2040”.

The UKPRP Information and Networking workshop was held on 18 May and you can read more about this event at the following page (https://www.mrc.ac.uk/about/events/ukprp-networking-and-collaboration-event/). A document has been published that sets out the vision and objectives of the UKPRP here (PDF, 113KB) and this page includes the slides that were presented and some audio files of the talks.

The first funding calls will be launched in the autumn and further details will appear here in due course.