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Following a successful first funding round in which the UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP) invested £25 million in the primary prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the UKPRP funders are pleased to launch a second call for proposals. Under this call, they seek to complement the initial portfolio of consortia and networks and would particularly welcome proposals in the priority areas outlined below. As before, full proposals will be invited based on an outline application and applicants should carefully consider the call specification as it reflects insights gained from delivering the first funding round.

  • Call status: Open
  • Open date: 3 September 2019
  • Closing date: 14 November 2019 16:00 GMT


The UKPRP partners have agreed to commit over £50 million to support research into the primary prevention of NCDs. NCDs account for around 89% of all deaths in the UK and result in large economic costs to health and social care systems and to the wider society. Socio-economic inequalities in health are consistently observed in the UK and have been increasing despite improvements in health and life expectancy. Diverse and complex systems operate to influence NCDs and inequalities in health. Recognising that these challenges extend beyond the remit of any one research funder, an alliance of funders is investing in the UKPRP to improve population health by tackling the upstream determinants of NCDs. These include, but are not limited to, the built and natural environment; systems relating to employment, education, welfare, transport, health and social care, and communication; and the policies of local and central government and of commercial enterprises.

The UKPRP vision is to generate evidence on actionable, sustainable and cost-effective ways of modifying the upstream systems and environments that influence NCDs, and of reducing health inequalities, through population-level action. The UKPRP is a new model of funding in the UK that aims to:

  • build and support interdisciplinary research teams to develop, implement and evaluate generalisable and scalable preventive policies, practices, designs and interventions which will enable change within complex adaptive systems to prevent NCDs.
  • deliver solutions for large-scale and cost-effective improvements in health and the prevention of NCDs that meet the needs of providers and policy makers and are responsive to the challenging timescales of policy making. This involves co-production of research with the public, policy makers, professionals and those likely to implement the intervention.

Priority Areas:

Preventing poor mental health and promoting mental wellbeing.
The UKPRP covers physical health, mental health and wellbeing in the UK, but we have highlighted mental health as it is a particular area of need. Research could include the development, design and evaluation of strategies or technologies to reduce mental health problems during key life-course transitions.

Reducing health inequalities (where this forms the primary focus of an application).
Research could include developing and testing strategies most likely to reduce inequalities in health (for example by socio-economic status, deprivation, ethnicity, gender etc.) at different stages of the life course.

Using fiscal and economic interventions to prevent NCDs and reduce health inequalities.
Research could include the evaluation, by natural experimental and/or big data methods, of population level policy changes relevant to the primary prevention of NCDs (e.g. congestion charging, soft drinks levy, changes in the child benefit system etc).

Modifying other social and economic determinants of health and wellbeing.
Research could cover welfare systems, poverty alleviation, occupational settings, gambling, housing or social cohesion; the co-design, implementation and evaluation of spaces and places (e.g. housing, workplaces, and public spaces) to improve physical and mental health; and the development of solutions for ensuring that the benefits derived from preventive strategies are shared equitably (e.g. by socio-economic group, ethnicity, gender etc.).

Tackling food systems that perpetuate unhealthy diets and obesity.
We are aware of existing research funding schemes on food systems and influences on diet and obesity. Given the importance of this challenge, the UKPRP would welcome proposals addressing this area. Research could investigate strategies for modifying food systems in ways that affect demand for and uptake of unhealthy food.

Improving the urban environment, including transport systems and air quality.
Research could evaluate the effects of central and local government transport or planning policies on air pollution, accidents and physical activity levels; or investigate how to enhance the built environment to improve health; and the development, design, application and evaluation of new technologies such as smart traffic management systems.

Using green and blue spaces for improving population health and preventing NCDs.
Research could examine the effectiveness of different solutions for improving natural environments in health enhancing ways; evaluate interventions designed to encourage healthy use of the natural environment and how this can be achieved without exacerbating health inequalities; and the role of the natural environment in promoting health related resilience (particularly in relation to multiple deprivation).

Targeting specific life course stages or transitions.
Research could examine the effectiveness of solutions targeted at reducing risks in specific life course stages such as childhood, adolescence, or old age; and specific life course transitions such as school to work, retirement, or becoming a parent.

Cross-cutting approaches.
UKPRP would welcome approaches which exploit digital technologies, social media or other platforms, or which take advantage of large-scale datasets and linkage to routine datasets, to design and deliver solutions; and research into ways of improving the use of evidence in policy and decision making, particularly in local and central government.

To read more and apply see the UKPRP website.