News & Latest 07.09.2020

NIHR ARCs awarded £13.125 million to fund key national research priorities

The National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaborations (NIHR ARCs) have secured £13.125 million to develop key research programmes over the next three years.

The NIHR, the nation’s largest funder of health and care research, invited proposals from the 15 newly formed NIHR ARCs to lead applied research in national priority areas to help solve the most pressing issues facing health and social care today. ARCs are collaborations between universities, health and social care providers, commissioners, charities and local authorities.

Successful ARCs have been awarded £1.875 million to lead a consortium of ARCs  working with patients and service users to develop better outcomes regionally and nationally. The area of research include children’s health and maternity, multimorbidity, health and care inequalities and mental health, including children and young people’s mental health.

Louise Knowles, Acting Deputy Director of Research Faculty, Infrastructure and Growth at the Department of Health and Social Care, said:

“Through this funding we are seeking to galvanise collaborative efforts across the NIHR ARCs to tackle some of the highest priority challenges the health and care system is facing, and will face, over the coming years.

“The unique infrastructure and breadth of expertise provided by the NIHR ARCs, supported by this funding, will help ensure that our world-leading applied research can help transform the organisation and delivery of health, public health and care – leading to real benefits for patients, carers and the public at a supra-regional and national level.”

Children’s health and maternity

NIHR ARC South West Peninsula will lead the Children’s health and maternity priority. They will work closely alongside NIHR ARC Yorkshire and Humber. Charities and national organisations will help identify where changes are needed and to develop the most effective ways to implement them.

Prevention, including behavioural risk factors

NIHR ARC North East and North Cumbria will lead pan-ARC research into the national priority theme of Prevention, including behavioural risk factors. The funding will support further research into factors which influence and contribute to living a longer, healthier life through both primary and secondary disease prevention. This will include promoting healthier childhoods and reducing multi-morbidities, obesity and mental ill-health across the life course. Work will support the Government’s ‘Grand Challenge’ objective to support people to enjoy at least five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and poorest.

Health and care inequalities

NIHR ARC North East and North Cumbria will also lead work around tackling health and care inequalities across the country. They will work closely with NIHR ARC Yorkshire and Humber. Increasing health inequalities in England, with life expectancy gaps of up to nine years between the most and least deprived neighbourhoods, are having a major impact on the wellbeing of our communities, our health and care services, and on the economy. The funding will enable research and evaluation that will support the health and care system nationally and regionally to reduce these inequalities.

Mental health, including children and young people’s mental health

NIHR ARC South London successfully bid to lead the Mental health, including children and young people’s mental health priority, which will be part of the UK’s Mental Health Priority Network. The award will drive this national collaboration, which will change mental health practice. They will work closely alongside NIHR ARC East of England and the network of all ARCs nationally to deliver this work. The network will involve service users, local communities, health and care providers, commissioners and a wide range of regional and national stakeholders to deliver evidence-based service change.


NIHR ARC East Midlands will have a remit to lead nationally on multimorbidity research thanks to its knowledge and track record for success and innovation in this area. The funding will allow the team to build on existing work into multimorbidity and share its expertise nationally.

Adult social care and social work

NIHR ARC Kent Surrey and Sussex will lead the Adult social care and social work national priority, in collaboration with eight other ARCs across England. The aim is to support and stimulate the implementation of evidence-based (evaluated) service change at national and/or supra-regional level in adult social care and social work, as identified by care users and carers, practitioners, professions, researchers and the wider public.

Healthy ageing, including dementia and frailty

NIHR ARC Wessex will use their award to work with the other ARCs across England, with close ties with Exeter, Leeds and Manchester. Research will be focused on the health challenges facing our growing older population. It will be as much about staying well and supporting people as finding better ways to care for and treat people with the many multi-morbidities that can develop in later life.

Lead and collaborating NIHR ARCs

Download the full list of which NIHR ARCs are leading and collaborating on each national priority area.