To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy, whether local health profiles influence the allocation of public investment in health research.
The Department for Health and Social Care funds health research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). NIHR funds ‘needs-led’ applied research – it aims to address issues that matter to the NHS and public health by identifying gaps in knowledge, and funding research that provides high-quality evidence to fill such gaps.
In order to achieve this, NIHR undertakes activities to identify needs, working closely with users of research evidence – those responsible for establishing policy, commissioning services and delivering care.
The NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme funds regionally derived applied research projects in health services and social care. The main purpose of the programme is to realise, through evidence, the huge potential for improving, expanding and strengthening the way that healthcare is delivered for patients, the public and the NHS through locally generated priorities.
In deciding which projects to support, we take care to involve not only scientific reviewers and experienced researchers, but also practitioners and service users. We also appoint public members to our Regional Advisory Panels.
UK Research and Innovation, a partner organisation of BEIS, funds medical research primarily through the Medical Research Council (MRC). MRC welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health and is committed to funding excellence. MRC recognises the value of information such as local health profiles for identifying future research areas, but there is the need to balance this against wider opportunities and allow for investigator-led proposals to inform our priorities too.