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.
Generating evidence and fresh insights on how best to prevent NCDs and reduce health inequalities requires expertise and perspectives from diverse academic disciplines and users (including policy makers, practitioners, health providers, civil society groups, industry and the public). Drawing on the capability of both researchers and users would provide greater understanding of the context into which population-level interventions will be implemented. This understanding should inform the design and evaluation of interventions for modifying the upstream determinants of NCDs, and for addressing adaptations in systems as changes occur.