ActEarly: a City Collaboratory approach to early promotion of good health and wellbeing

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield


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Technical Summary

This grant is funded by the UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP) which is administered by the Medical Research Council on behalf of the UKPRP’s 12 funding partners: British Heart Foundation; Cancer Research UK; Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Economic and Social Research Council; Health and Social Care Research and Development Division, Welsh Government; Health and Social Care Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland; Medical Research Council; Natural Environment Research Council; National Institute for Health Research; The Health Foundation; The Wellcome Trust. Our vision is to promote a healthier, fairer future for children, young people and their communities by addressing the social and environmental determinants of health. We will create a ‘City Collaboratory’ (an open space or creative process where people work together to generate solutions) to co-produce and evaluate upstream interventions. Prevention research has tended to focus on ‘downstream’ interventions aimed at changing individual behaviours, frequently increasing inequalities. Our approach is to align our research expertise with the knowledge and experience of families, children, communities, local authorities, voluntary sector and industry to identify preventive pathways and implement and evaluate upstream interventions. Our collaboratory will take a lifecourse approach, focusing initially on the improvement of child health and development to improve health and wellbeing in young people so that they enter adult life with optimal health and ultimately improve the health of the whole population. We will evaluate impact on level and inequalities of a broad mix of outcomes such as education, physical activity, healthy growth and development (motor, cognitive) and longer term evaluate impact on adolescent/early adulthood obesity, mental health, cardiometabolic and respiratory outcomes. We propose a City Collaboratory model for whole system prevention. Our initial focus will be in Bradford, building on established, community-embedded research platforms and substantial planned investment in interventions to improve child health. We will then replicate the Collaboratory approach in a deprived area of London to test replicability in other UK populations. Researchers and stakeholders too often operate in disciplinary, sectorial and geographical silos. Our consortium development grant will bring together extensive international transdisciplinary, trans-sectoral expertise working across Yorkshire and London with local and national stakeholders to strengthen existing partnerships, recruit new partners, agree on priorities and develop long-term models whereby our City Collaboratory can maximise impact.


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