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Working in partnership to develop public health research: An RDS perspective

Working in partnership to develop public health research: An RDS perspective

01 July 2020

Janine Bestall, Deputy Director and Senior Research Fellow Applied Health Research, RDS Yorkshire and Humber

The NIHR recognises the need to focus on public health research to complement traditional health research and to address the wide range of factors that impact on the health and well-being of our nation. NIHR’s School of Public Health is already in place to do this and the RDS has strong links with them.

Some examples of where the RDS is working with national and regional research partners to share knowledge and expertise in public health research are:
Nationally, we are setting up and delivering a pilot bespoke cross-regional support and advice service to help applicants applying to NIHRs Public Health Research Programme’s commissioned calls. Over the next year, this pilot will help us to better understand how to work with public health researchers, and to make sure that we support our RDS advisers to assist clients in the most appropriate ways.

In Yorkshire and Humber, as an RDS we are working with a range of partners, including the Clinical Research Network, the Applied Research Collaborative, School of Public Health Research, AHSN, Local Authority partners and Public Health England, to:

  • better understand public health research and researcher needs
  • identify barriers and potential solutions to practitioners making applications to NIHR
  • think about small steps and funding pots for getting early career researchers (ECR)s started on a career pathway in research.
  • help to identify research models and methods that deliver appropriate outcomes for practitioners
  • clearly illustrate differences in public health and social care

The members of this partnership are working together on a range of activities including mapping current activity and talking to early adopters in local authority and primary care settings. They are also working with applicants to the current NIHR rapid response calls to identify structural and cultural adjustments that may be needed within local authorities to support and enable research in these settings.

Most importantly for the Research Design Service, our involvement in these initiatives and partnerships means that our advisers have the understanding and skills to support researchers in these fast-evolving areas.

As always, there are so many issues to consider and address. We can advise and support you to get your research questions and ideas off the ground. We can feedback to NIHR where the barriers, difficulties, and opportunities might lie with public health research.

Please do get in touch, despite Covid-19 RDS is very much running a virtual, but business as usual service. For more information and how we can help contact your local RDS, we would love to hear from you!

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