12 October 2022| | 4 min read
Council awarded £5m to develop research collaboration
Newcastle City Council has been awarded £5m to fund the development of its research capabilities over the next five years, to help tackle health inequalities.
The council is one of 10 local authorities to receive funding as part of a £50m investment by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The funding will enable the council to develop a Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC) with Newcastle University, which will equip the local authority with the skills, expertise and capacity to plan and deliver research that will ultimately help residents to live healthier and more fulfilling lives.
Councillor Karen Kilgour, Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council and cabinet member for a Healthy, Caring City, said: “We put residents at the heart of everything we do, and recognise that so much of what we do as a council, and with our partners, can have an impact on the health and wellbeing of our communities. So we are delighted that our application, with Newcastle University, for the Health Determinants Research Collaboration funding has been successful. This programme will allow us to significantly expand our research capabilities and the information we gather will help us make better informed decisions on behalf of our residents across the city.
“Listening to our residents and learning from the data and research available to us already informs much of what we do as a council, but this funding will really improve work with our partners in Collaborative Newcastle to understand the needs of our residents and to help them lead longer and healthier lives.”
Eileen Kaner, Professor of Public Health and Primary Care Research at Newcastle University and Director of NIHR Applied Research Collaboration for the North East and North Cumbria, said: “Although evidence-based decision making is not a new concept for local authorities, the HDRCs will provide a more robust foundation of insight on which to build services that truly make a difference to health outcomes. By combining the local knowledge and experience of the councils and their community partners with the skills and expertise of specialist research teams, we have a unique opportunity to understand and address health challenges – particularly within our most disadvantaged communities, who are disproportionately affected by issues like obesity, drug use and poor mental health.
The HDRCs will give a voice to groups who often aren’t heard, enable bold new approaches and ultimately, help people to live healthier, longer and more fulfilling lives in Gateshead, Newcastle and beyond.”
Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland have also been selected by NIHR to receive development award funding during 2022/23 with a view to them hosting full HDRCs in 2023/24.
Ashley Adamson, Professor of Public Health Nutrition at Newcastle University and Director of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, said: “Local government in England is ideally placed to draw on and develop evidence to improve the health of our local people and to reduce inequalities. In Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, we have 14 years of experience in working collaboratively with local authorities, developing strong academic partnerships to support a culture of research in local government. We are thrilled with the news today that three local authority areas in the North East have been successful in applying for Health Determinants Research Collaboration funding and look forward to working with the new partnership, and building on the legacy of Fuse.”