Project PEDS06

Population in Focus and Creation of a Health Research Needs Assessment

Creation of a health research needs assessment framework across the East of England with case studies from population in focus (PiF) communities. Our main objective is that using this analytical research framework we can help in research priority setting and help local and county level authorities improvement of population health outcomes.


The ARC East of England strategy is to work locally and regionally, on national and internationally important questions in health and social care (HSC), creating a vibrant, inclusive infrastructure for applied health and care research (AHCR), implementing evidence to benefit individual citizens and communities across the East of England.

We are committed to citizen and community engagement, and we will focus our resources on communities with high health needs using a bottom-up applied research framework. By working on a Health Research Needs Assessment (HRNA) we plan to create an analytical research framework under which other local and county level authorities can improve population health outcomes. With the HRNA we want to assess the available research needs at the local level, and based on this framework, produce an early engagement schedule with local authorities and communities.

We plan with this to build a research infrastructure creating scoping opportunities, identifying early on clear research aims in order to understand community health research needs, identifying actions and initiatives to improve community health, pilot and implement actions, and to also evaluate population health actions and initiatives.

Project aims

  • To explore how approaches developed for local health needs assessments can be adapted to allow identification of health research priorities in a local area, community or county across the east of England (EoE)
  • To use a co-production and inclusive approach to the development of a pragmatic, readily applicable and scalable framework that allows triangulation of multiple data sources to identify local health research priorities and gaps based on local needs engaging with multiple stakeholders in the development of these
  • To test the framework in one of the PiF in the East of England to inform future research activity across the ARC themes and to inform a possible future research agenda across the EoE

Project activity 

We will follow the road map and methods below for the Health Research Needs Assessment will be implemented:

Step 1. Scoping and strategize the HRNA needs and impact across the life course

Step 2. Identify and engage stakeholders from communities and local authorities

Step 3. Define the community and geographies across the East of England

Step 4. Collect and analyse data (assess data sources available and ongoing projects) respecting data governance structures and safe use of resources, respecting privacy and data ownership

Step 5. Define community research health challenges according to sources of data and geographies

Step 6. Document and communicate results and feed back to stakeholders to integrate them in decision making

Step 7. Implementation strategies of possible benefits and data outputs with an adequate impact framework across communities

Step 8. Evaluate progress and produce translational research outputs jointly with local authorities

Who is involved 

Principal investigators:

Dr Louise Lafortune, University of Cambridge 

Dr Sian Evans, University of Cambridge 

Dr Andres Roman-Urrestarazu, University of Cambridge 

Get in contact

Dr Andres Roman-Urrestarazu, University of Cambridge