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Research

Scope and priorities

Population health sciences (PHS) supported by the MRC embraces 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 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the health departments of Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

We lead 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.

The MRC’s strategy in this area is overseen by the MRC Population Health Sciences Group. PHSG carries out an annual analysis of the MRC PHS portfolio.

Future opportunities that we envisage progressing across the MRC and with our partners in the UK are:

  • research in adolescence including on mental health
  • prevention of NCDs through upstream social and environmental determinants
  • data science for population health.