System-science Informed Public Health Economic Research for Non-communicable Disease Prevention (the SIPHER Consortium)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: UNLISTED


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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.

SIPHER will transform efforts to realise widely-held aspirations for a ‘health in all policies’ approach by providing novel evidence supporting cross-sectoral policy processes. We represent a unique blend of disciplines covering public health, policy analysis, economics complex systems modelling, data curation and analytics. Our highlycommitted co-production partners offer ideal “living laboratories” as local, regional and national jurisdictions developing ambitious ways of cross-sectoral working in noncommunicable disease (NCD) prevention.

Focusing on health inequalities, we will build on detailed understanding of partners’ needs, evidence use and policy-making practices to co-produce new models and decision tools for the economic evaluation of health and non-health-sector strategies. These will allow policy-makers to:
- Explore interdependencies and trade-offs between effects on outcomes for different subpopulations and sectors (e.g. how do housing and unemployment affect mental health, and vice versa);
- Identify opportunities for synergistic action, and for disinvestment;
- Monitor evolving local contexts, including unanticipated changes, to help next-step

The UK Government’s emphasis on localism and devolution creates new opportunities for cross-sectoral prevention of NCDs and the social, economic and health inequalities that drive them. Novel types of evidence are needed which: 1. Speak to diverse policy audiences and balance their strategic priorities;
2. Allow examination of dynamic, adaptive and interdependent features of the sociopolitical systems into which policies are implemented.
Complex systems modelling (CSM) has been highly effective in helping us understand and forecast the performance of many physical, natural and social systems (e.g. climate change, cities, crime, retail). The time is ripe to harness its potential for public health.

Managerial roles include Directorate, Consortium Steering Group, Project Manager, Research Development Manager, Knowledge Transfer Manager and External Advisory Group. Collaboration agreements will be negotiated during the Consortium Development Grant (CDG). Co-production is realised via joint researcher appointments/secondments into partner organisations.


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Description System-science Informed Public Health and Economic Research for Non-communicable Disease Prevention (the SIPHER Consortium)
Amount £4,980,462 (GBP)
Funding ID MR/S037578/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2019 
End 07/2020