An introductory PHCSA webinar was held to provide an overview of the scheme plus details on how to apply. Also included were two question and answer sessions which cover areas such as the remit of the call, future funding rounds, eligibility, budget and eligible support costs as well as the NIHR assessment process. To request a copy of the webinar, including the question and answer sessions, please email email@example.com.
The NIHR Population Health Career Scientist Award (PHCSA) is a UK-wide initiative to enable senior researchers to make the next step to Reader/Professor level in their host institutions. Deadline is 1pm 30th June 2022.
The PHCSA forms part of a series of initiatives and investment by NIHR to enable local government to become more research-active and help answer the most important research questions facing policymakers and services at local and national levels.
In growing recognition of the need to tackle wider preventable risk factors and determinants of health, there is an expectation that the research supported through this scheme will be of importance and relevance to local government, ideally with explicit support from local government colleagues.
The award is funded through the NIHR Public Health Research (PHR) Programme and is being delivered jointly by the NIHR PHR Programme and the NIHR Academy and can be applied to through an Advanced Fellowship application. This award is open to applicants based in all four nations of the UK.
While the aim of the PHCSA will build on previous similar initiatives such as the Health Determinants Research Collaborations (HDRCs) scheme that supported the transition of senior researchers to Reader/Professor level, there is also a desire to attract researchers from outside the specific discipline of public health to include the wide range of disciplines which undertake research in areas which impact the determinants of health (e.g. environmental science, mathematics, architecture, engineering, geography).
Through this scheme, the NIHR is keen to receive innovative and ambitious applications (e.g. those that make the best use of data linkage and modelling techniques) across a broad range of areas of population health. All research proposals must be within the remit of the NIHR PHR programme although a broad view of this will be taken. The crux of successful applications will lie in a combination of the following: (1) the quality of the candidate and their potential as a future leader in population health research; (2) the importance and likely impact of the research being proposed; and (3) the particular contribution that the discipline can make to improving population health and reducing health inequalities/tackling wider disadvantage.
Areas of particular interest which would be considered in scope for the PHCSA include, but are not limited to, programmes of population level research that:
- Address the major determinants of poor health and of health inequalities in the UK which could include (but not limited to)
- Enhancing our understanding of how the built environment can help to improve air quality and/or mitigate the impact of climate change;
- Demonstrating the value of investing in early years interventions for future health and well-being;
- Develop our understanding of what are the most important policies and interventions to implement to tackle disadvantage and reduce health inequalities;
- Develop and use innovative methodologies to answer the most pressing population health research questions – including dynamic modelling, linkage of routinely collected data and making optimum use of digital technologies.
Whatever research is supported through this scheme, applicants will need to demonstrate that they have mechanisms in place to ensure: (1) that the research they are proposing addresses an evidence gap and is needed by, and can be used by, local health and social care systems; and (2) effective dissemination and shared learning across local government and the wider health system. As already noted, this scheme is intended to complement the HDRCs as part of an overall strategy to enhance R&D activity of relevance to local government and wider population health.
Where applications have a strong focus on health inequalities and tackling disadvantage, applicants will need to demonstrate that they have given serious thought to the data required and the feasibility of accessing and combining relevant data.
Who can apply?
The PHCSA is a UK-wide initiative open to applicants from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Individual applicants will need to be based in an eligible Higher Education Institution (HEI) or equivalent in the UK and will be expected to have explicit support from their host organisations over the duration of the award either in the form of funding or resources ‘in kind’ (e.g. research assistant support/PhD students to the Fellow if successful).
Candidates are expected to either be starting to establish themselves as an independent researcher in either a public health or non-traditional public health discipline or are already established as an independent researcher but are not yet recognised as an international leader in their field. Due allowance will be given to those whose career has been affected by either a late start or interruption for personal or family reasons, including the pandemic. Standard NIHR eligibility criteria apply. Applicants should have a track record of holding research funding and be able to show they have made important contributions in their area of research. They should also be able to demonstrate the commitment to work in partnership with local authorities to develop a research culture and a willingness to develop and mentor less research-active individuals.
Further support: webinar and workshop
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