£135 Million Research Fund Announcement Marked By Visit To NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North Thames By Health Minister

Government announces £135 million investment in applied health research to equip NHS, public health and social care for the future

The funding will tackle the biggest challenges the health and care system faces over the next five years

Baroness Nicola Blackwood, Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, visits ARC North Thames on the day of the announcement

ARC researchers, staff and patient partners welcomed Baroness Blackwood (centre) to the launch at Barts Health NHS Trust


The NHS is joining forces with some of the country’s best universities, leading innovators and local authorities to solve some of the biggest issues facing health and social care over the next five years.

From October 1st NIHR ARC North Thames (alongside fourteen regional partnerships across England) has been awarded funding through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for ground-breaking new research that will address the increasing demands on the NHS, public health and social care, improve outcomes and services and reduce inequalities.

NIHR ARC North Thames is a partnership of six leading universities (UCL, QMUL, LSE, LSHTM, City and UEL), the NHS and councils (across Central and East London, Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire), patients, communities, charities and industry. All share a commitment to improve health and social care services and to reduce inequalities.

We focus on five Themes: mental health, multimorbidity, population health and social care, innovation and implementation, health economics and data.

We have studies planned in areas where we can achieve significant advances in tackling major health and care challenges– from reducing urgent care admissions to improving management of frailty; developing and evaluating pathways linking primary, secondary, and social care; addressing fairness and quality in provision of mental health services for all ages; developing the potential of diverse data for examining variations in outcomes; and providing tools to drive implementation across diverse settings.

We will examine persistent problems (such as child health inequalities, impacts of multiple disadvantage, pollution, polypharmacy and sustainable social care) and emerging issues (such as gambling, knife crime and built infrastructure for sustainability).

We have also been designated as the national ARC lead for population health.


We will train frontline NHS and Public Health staff in applied research skills. This will support them to use the highest quality research in their work for patient and public benefit. We will also enable them to develop into research leaders, widening our network of experts, thus ensuring that future research is grounded in health and care settings and in communities, so meeting their most pressing practical needs.

Public and Community Involvement

We have highly valued public partners who keep our work relevant and where necessary challenge our priorities, ideas and proposed research. Our aim is to deliver research in communities with communities and for communities.

We welcomed Baroness Blackwood to the national ARC launch at our host Trust Barts Health’s Royal London Hospital where the Minster met ARC academics and staff.

NIHR ARC North Thames Director Professor Rosalind Raine (pictured, centre with the Minister) said:

“The key to achieving the Holy Grail of delivering world-leading research and rapid impact is to work hand in glove with our partners. We are designed to be agile enough to tackle major emerging issues that come from the ground up, from frontline staff, patients and the public.  So our results will be of direct value and can be readily spread across the country in partnership with our AHSN, UCLPartners.

We are also passionate about reducing inequalities. We must achieve benefits for all those in our region, which encompasses a range of neighbourhoods including the third most deprived in England. We also serve ethnically diverse and highly mobile communities. By closely collaborating with ARCs across the country, we will ensure that our research is truly relevant to different social and demographic groups whether they live in urban or rural settings”.

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said:

As the population grows and demand on the NHS increases, it is paramount we develop the next generation of technologies and improve the way we work to ensure the NHS continues to offer world-leading care.

“The UK has a proud history of cutting edge health research and by supporting the great minds in health and social care, this funding has the potential to unlock solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing healthcare and revolutionise the way patients access treatments in the future.”