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Remit and scope

Population health sciences (PHS) are concerned with the study of biological and environmental influences on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of populations.

A key aim of population health research is to understand how and why health and wellbeing varies within and between populations and across the life course, and how the health of the public can be improved through clinical or public health interventions.

The public sector funding responsibility for population science and public health is shared between the MRC, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the health departments of Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

The MRC leads on discovery work in population health sciences and all aspects of global public health research, with the health departments responsible for more applied public health research in the UK.

We spend over £100m per annum on PHS. Our investments cover a spectrum of research across biological, social, behavioural, environmental and life course determinants of population health. This includes epidemiology, population cohorts, methodology, intervention development, informatics and global public health. We fund applied public health research through multi-funded partnerships and certain MRC units.