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Improving the nation’s health

23 Ionawr 2008

cigarette in hand

Cardiff University’s role in improving the health of the nation is to be strengthened with a new multidisciplinary research Centre.

The Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer) will bring together leading experts from a range of disciplines to tackle public health issues such as diet and nutrition, physical activity; and alcohol, tobacco and drugs, with a particular focus on developing and evaluating multi-level interventions that will have an impact on the health and well-being of children and young people.

The Centre will be lead by Professor Laurence Moore, Director of the Cardiff Institute for Society, Health and Ethics (CISHE) in a strategic partnership with colleagues at the University of Bristol, led by Professor Rona Campbell, and Swansea University, led by Professor Ronan Lyons. Within Cardiff University, DECIPHer is a collaboration across four Schools (Social Sciences, Medicine, Dentistry and Law).

Professor Laurence Moore

Professor Moore said: "Health inequalities and poor health generally are major problems in the UK.

"This new strategic partnership will build on our expertise in producing high quality evidence to help policy makers deal with public health issues in an informed and practical way. We will have a particular focus on developing and evaluating multi-level interventions that will have an impact on the health and well-being of children and young people."

A total of £20M has been invested to establish five Centres of Excellence across the UK by a partnership of funders.

The partners are the Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, Wales Office of Research and Development in Health and Social Care, National Institute for Health Research, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, and the Health and Social Care Research & Development Office for Northern Ireland.

Professor Ian Diamond, Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council, who leads the funding group, said: "I am delighted to announce these important new Centres, which will be vital for bringing together world-class experts from a diverse range of backgrounds to ensure that essential research is carried out to make a significant impact on the public health of the UK population.

"There have been big improvements in health and life expectancy over the last century. However the UK still faces challenges to improve public health and ensure that as a society we benefit from longer and healthier lives."

The new Cardiff Centre will receive up to £5M over 5 years to create new academic posts and develop strong training and career development programmes. The funding will also provide the technical staff, IT systems, equipment, administrative support, research facilities and other infrastructure needed to support high quality research.

The Centres were awarded funding via a competitive process and include, in addition to the Cardiff-led partnership, consortia led by researchers from the Universities of Newcastle, Belfast, Cambridge and Nottingham.

The funders who supported the initiative came together under the umbrella of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) to develop this co-ordinated approach to strengthen public health research in the UK.