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Health Systems Research Initiative

Launched in 2013, the Health Systems Research Initiative (HRSI) aims to generate world class and cutting-edge research that addresses key questions on strengthening and improving health systems in developing countries and is jointly funded by the Department of International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the MRC and the Wellcome Trust.

Health systems research addresses questions that are not disease-specific but concern issues that have repercussions on the performance of the health system as a whole. We recognise that health systems are complex, and include not only formal health care delivery systems (public or private), but also include factors such as health education, community and individual action, the regulatory and legislative context and the existing and emerging social, economic and cultural circumstances. Research questions should be situated within an understanding of these broader health system linkages and describe how and why findings from the project have the potential to improve the health of people living in low- and middle-income countries.

The programme’s aims are to fund methodologically rigorous, high quality research that will:

1.  Generate evidence on how to strengthen and improve health systems for people living in low- and middle-income countries.

2.  Use a health systems approach to inform the delivery of evidence-based interventions or structural changes. Proposals must demonstrate how interventions relate to and affect wider elements of a health system such as governance, financing, health workforce, information systems, service delivery etc.

3.  Provide evidence that is of direct relevance to decision makers and practitioners in the field.

We have now completed four successful calls for this programme and following an excellent response from the research community, funding has now been secured for an annual call under this initiative until 2021. Applications can be submitted from both UK- and LMIC-led research teams.

All initial enquiries should be directed to the Medical Research Council: HSRI@mrc.ukri.org