Research

NPRI awards

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Phase 1: Research and awards

NPRI Phase 1 was launched in October 2004 with a call for outline proposals. A total of 250 outlines were submitted, and these were assessed in April 2005 by the NPRI Scientific Committee which invited 44 full proposals. These were internationally peer reviewed and assessed by the scientific committee.

In December 2005, the NRPI funded 26 new research projects aimed at preventing cancer, diabetes and heart disease. These diseases were targeted because of their considerable impact on public health: in the UK more than 153,000 people died of cancer in 2004; three million people have diabetes, including up to a million in whom the condition hasn’t yet been diagnosed, and coronary heart disease is the UK’s most common cause of death, killing around 1 in 5 men and 1 in 6 women.

Smoking, poor diet, lack of physical activity and excessive alcohol intake are at the root of these and many other diseases. The NPRI-funded studies explore a range of approaches to promoting positive health behaviour, to encourage people to avoid these habits and to follow a healthy diet and physical activity programme. Many are taking place in local settings - schools, neighbourhoods, homes, the workplace and GP surgeries - with members of the community helping to develop and testing new interventions.

Some projects use the internet to influence health behaviour, develop partnerships with local food shops, train members of the community to be health advisors, or use marketing communication skills to promote healthier living.

Here are some examples of the research project topics:

  • Developing strategies to tackle the early origins of obesity
  • Helping Bangladeshi and Pakistani men to stop smoking
  • Mapping physical activity and health in the urban environment
  • Using the internet to encourage weight loss in overweight African-Caribbean women
  • Exploring physical activity in older adults
  • Assessing the effect of alcohol marketing on drinking by young people
  • Exploring the timing of meals and physical activity to promote good health in shift workers
  • Influencing the choices low-income consumers make when buying food

Phase 2: Research and awards

Following the success of the first funding round, NPRI announced a second call for outline applications in March 2007. Consistent with Phase 1, research funded under Phase 2 relates to risk reduction and/or health behaviour – specially tobacco use, alcohol misuse, diet and/or physical activity, with the aim of preventing cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke and/or diabetes.

Applications were invited in two specific areas.

Area 1: The analysis of existing datasets in order to further realise the benefits of past investment and put existing data to new uses relating to health behaviours, their determinants and barriers to change. Appropriate datasets included international, national and localised resources derived from surveys, cohorts, case studies, trials or other sources.

Area 2: Role of incentives, including economic incentives, in behaviour or behaviour change of the consumer, retailer, manufacturer or producer in respect of products or services relating to tobacco, alcohol, diet and/or physical activity.

A total of 38 outline applications were received and assessed by the NPRI Scientific Committee which invited 22 full applications. These were internationally peer reviewed and assessed by the scientific committee. The NPRI funding partners considered the recommendations of the committee and announced the following 14 new research awards.

Press announcement ‘£3 million for research to prevent ill health’

The NPRI Phase 2 awardees (2008) can be downloaded from the Document Downloads section on this page.

Phase 3: Research and awards

In recognition of the continuing need for research targeted at the primary prevention of chronic diseases, and the success of Phases 1 and 2, the Funding Partners committed up to £12 million over five years to support NPRI Phase 3.

The focus remained on the same four health behaviours associated with significant risks to health and on the environmental factors that influence those behaviours. Research aims to improve health and prevent diseases or conditions such as cancer, heart and circulatory diseases, diabetes, obesity, stroke and dementia.

This call funded cross-disciplinary translational research which develops and tests interventions that can potentially have a major impact on population health.

The scientific committee considered 67 outline proposals and invited 32 full applications. These were internationally peer reviewed and assessed by the scientific committee. The NPRI funding partners considered the recommendations of the committee and announced the following 15 new research awards.

The NPRI Phase 3 awardees (2009) can be downloaded from the Document Downloads section on this page.

Phase 4: Research and awards

In 2010, the funding partners announced a further funding call under NPRI Phase 4. This phase aimed at supporting cross-disciplinary research which developed or tested interventions that can potentially have a major impact on population health, using the full range of evaluation methods, including experimental and quasi-experimental (or observational) designs and natural experiments.

Research funded through the call will:

  • develop interventions (including work to understand the underpinning basis)
  • test efficacy of interventions
  • evaluate effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions; and/or
  • evaluate methods for encouraging the uptake or implementation of interventions known to be effective

The NPRI scientific committee considered 49 outline proposals and invited 31 full applications. Full applications were internationally peer reviewed and assessed by the scientific committee. In November 2011 the NPRI funding partners considered the recommendations of the scientific committee in a funders meeting and agreed to fund 19 research awards.

The NPRI Phase 4 awardees (2012) can be downloaded from the Document Downloads section on this page.