The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is providing an open competition to allocate up to £56 million of funding to designate and fund Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs). HPRUs are partnerships between academic institutions and Public Health England (PHE), and will act as centres of excellence in multi-disciplinary health protection research in England.
The aim of the HPRU scheme is to support PHE in delivering its objectives and functions for public health protection, including by building an evidence base for public health policy and practice. Each HPRU will focus on a priority area to address specific public health protection research requirements.
The current HPRUs played a central role in responding to major events including the Novichok, Ebola and overseas terror incidents. In 2017 to 2018, the HPRUs were involved in 413 studies and 514 peer review publications. They supported a total of 254 PhD students and secured £50 million funding from other sources.
Projects funded by earlier rounds of funding include:
Helping to screen British nationals caught up in overseas terror attacks for mental health conditions and offering treatment when appropriate
Developing a way to quickly screen people who believed they had been affected by the nerve agent incident in Salisbury in March 2018. This involved using biomarker data to determine within minutes whether a person had been infected
Developing a tool using genomics to diagnose tuberculosis more quickly and accurately. The device allows researchers to predict the resistance and transmissibility of the disease by analysing its genome automatically. It has been adopted by PHE and is the first example of genomic-based diagnostic service in routine use worldwide
All universities in England are eligible to apply. Universities will need to have a substantial portfolio of world-class health protection research in the relevant priority area.
The total amount of NIHR funding available for this competition will be up to £56 million over a five year period, starting 1 April 2020.
Funding is expected to be no more than £4 million per HPRU for the five year period.
On announcement of the fund, Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said:
"Air pollution can have a devastating impact on our health and is a key issue that we need to tackle through research. We’ve just seen the warmest February day on record and we have a duty to the public to consider the health challenges climate change brings.
"All of our successes to date would have been impossible without world-leading research conducted by some of the best minds at outstanding research hubs up and down the country.
"This new investment, as part of our Long Term Plan for the NHS, will unlock further solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing the health and care system over the next 5 years, aiming to drastically improve all of our lives."
Stage 1 (initial) applications must be submitted by the deadline of 11 April 2019 (1pm).
Addresses and contacts
For further information on how to obtain this grant locally, please contact the following:
- National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)