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£5m research project to tackle health inequality

Published: 15 December 2023 at 14:26

Main entrance to Anglia Ruskin University's Chelmsford campus

ARU is part of Essex-based partnership to boost research capacity and capability

An exciting Essex-based partnership has secured £5million for research into the issues that cause ill health in the county.

The collaboration, between Southend, Essex and Thurrock councils, Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and the University of Essex, with support from health partners, has been awarded £5million of national funding to address health inequality across the county.

The new Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC) is one of 11 funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to boost research capacity and capability in some of the UK’s most deprived areas.

Following the successful bid, the new HDRC will research public health improvements across the county. It is due to be introduced on 1 January 2024 and will see the partnership receive £1 million every year for five years towards its research.

Professors Lee Smith and Matt Fossey will respectively be leading research workstreams on the environmental and educational factors that have an impact on heath across greater Essex. Professor Yvonne Barnett and Dr Sanjiv Ahluwalia will provide oversight and governance as part of the broader expert panels and Julia Carr will lead public involvement in the project.

Professor Fossey, Professor of Public Services Research at Anglia Ruskin University, said:

 

“We are delighted to be working with partners from across Greater Essex to develop research capacity and skills. This will provide the evidence to better understand and address some of the fundamental challenges posed by local health inequalities.

“The impacts, for example, of social and food poverty, gambling, substance abuse, obesity and so on are an enormous strain on the region’s health and social services as well as our local economies. This applied research partnership will be critical in making a difference.”