Four Calls Launched by the Department of Health’s Policy Research Programme

The Policy Research Programme (PRP) is a national programme of research dedicated to providing an effective evidence base for policymaking in the Department of Health (DH). It provides information to the Secretary of State for Health and other Ministers directly, and through policy directorates in the Department, and covers all aspects of the Department’s policymaking activity. It works alongside other national research programmes and consults, when necessary, with policy research programmes in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) whose work is primarily of relevance to the NHS.

Four new PRP calls for proposals are now open:

  • Benefits of General Practices Offering Patients Access to Test Results: Under this call, worth up to £350,000, the Department of Health aims to fund a single research project to inform policy and practice for patients in general practice having access to results of their medical tests. Key issues for research are whether patients can safely have responsibility for their test results, and the impact of this on the primary care workload.
  • Research Call on Operational Research for Infectious Disease: Under this call, worth up to £375,000, the Department of Health wishes to commission a programme of research covering such areas as:
    • Strategic aspects of immunisation programmes and their effectiveness and cost effectiveness.
    • Aspects of disease modelling concerned with strategic issues of immunisation.
    • Logistics, communications and supply issues in particular for immunisation programmes and Emergency Preparedness.
    • Risk assessment and management for Emergency Preparedness planning.
  • Vaccine Evaluation Research: Under this call, proposals may request up to £2 million for projects which aim to:
    • Explore the potential to introduce innovative schedules to improve the NHS immunisation programme using, for example, sequential doses of vaccines from different manufacturers or use fewer doses than the licensed indication, where safety and efficacy allow.
    • Study and compare the immunogenicity and potential impact of vaccines from different manufacturers.
    • Evaluate efficacy with concomitant vaccines as used in the national programme.
    • Help speed up the generation of evidence for, and licensure of, a new vaccine where there is a pressing health need in the UK, and work with manufacturers to this end.
  • vCJD Research to Inform Health Protection Policy and Measures: Proposals in relation to this call may request up to £5.8 million, and should aim to:
    • Inform understanding of vCJD infection in the following areas:
      • Prevalence of pre-clinical vCJD infection in the UK population, including interpretation of exiting prevalence studies.
      • Variations in estimated prevalence and actual cases of vCJD.
      • The natural course of vCJD infection, including variations in host/agent interaction.
      • Risk management and health protection measures, including the ability of pre-clinical infection to transmit.
    • Develop a specific and sensitive test which is able to detect pre-clinical levels of infection in blood or non-blood, which can be scaled to process large numbers of samples.
    • Develop decontamination technologies for re-usable medical instruments.

In each case, projects should take no more than three years and should be ready to start within six months of confirmation of awards, with such confirmation expected to occur mid-May 2017. Budgets are calculated on the basis that they cover 100% of the full economic cost of the research.

For all four calls, the deadline for stage one of a two-stage application process is 11 October 2016.

Further information

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