An extra £12 million has been committed by the UK Government to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in 2020-21 to fund research into preventable diseases.
With the additional funds, NIHR will be able to improve understanding of how to reduce the burden of preventable illness and spread the distribution of health and care research expertise across the UK.
The investment will be provided through the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC). It will be directed particularly towards Local Authorities, helping them grow and support their research capabilities so they can work further to solve a range of major preventable health challenges.
The aim is that this will support the Government’s work to increase healthy life expectancy by 5 years by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and poorest.
Heart disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and cancer are all linked to preventable causes and contribute to slowing improvements in life expectancy, and regional and socio-economic inequalities in health outcomes. They also cost the NHS billions of pounds a year.
“We need to do more to fund broader, multi-disciplinary prevention research which investigates the range of biological, behavioural, social and environmental causes of these diseases if we are going to tackle them effectively,” said Dr Louise Wood, Director of Science, Research and Evidence at the Department of Health and Social Care and co-lead of the NIHR.
“This increased investment will enable a deeper understanding of the determinants of preventable diseases, and the most effective ways of tackling them, including at the local authority level, where many of the levers to improve population health reside.”