SPECTRUM: Shaping Public Health Policies to Reduce Harm (Shaping Public hEalth poliCies To RedUce harM)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Stirling


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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.

The SPECTRUM consortium aims to generate new evidence to inform the prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) caused by unhealthy commodities in the UK and beyond. Through developing research in partnership with an extensive network of key organisations and the public, our vision is to transform policy and practice to encourage the adoption of healthy environments and behaviours.

With a principal focus on tobacco and alcohol, two leading preventable causes of NCDs driven by unhealthy commodity producers, our work will extend as SPECTRUM develops to encompass other commercially driven diseases and harms. Our research will be coordinated through eight integrated Work Packages (WPs) focusing on: (1) using systems to understand determinants and address harms; (2) addressing corporate conduct and influence; (3) developing and integrating new data sources to inform action; (4) conducting economic analysis to inform policy and practice; (5) shaping the environment to change behaviour and prevent harm; (6) evaluating the effectiveness of policies and natural experiments; (7) reducing inequalities including mental health; and (8) building governance for health equity. Each WP will involve empirical research underpinned by the systems approaches developed in WP1 and 2.

SPECTRUM brings together a multi-disciplinary team of leading researchers from ten
Universities; the main NGO, professional and policy groups working on tobacco and alcohol in the UK, including many with a focus on inequalities and wider determinants of health; industry partners contributing new data and methods; and an independent advisory board of international experts. We will ensure that the public play a key role in our work through established engagement methods and new approaches such as
citizens' juries. The proposed research programme will also inform prevention efforts internationally, through our extensive global networks including in low and middle income countries, where commercially-driven NCDs are primary threats to future global health.


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