Applications Invited for NIHR Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs)

With a total budget of up to £56,000, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has launched an open competition to designate and fund Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs). HPRUs are partnerships between academic institutions and Public Health England (PHE), and will act as centres of excellence in multi-disciplinary health protection research in England.

The aim of the HPRU scheme is to support PHE in delivering its objectives and functions for public health protection, including by building an evidence base for public health policy and practice. Each HPRU will focus on a priority area to address specific public health protection research requirements.

The HPRU scheme will provide designation and funding to:

Create an environment where world-class health protection research, focused on the needs of the public, can thrive.

Focus on priority areas which will have the greatest impact on public health.

Provide high quality research evidence to inform decision-making by public health professionals.

Enable translation of advances in health protection research into benefits for patients and the public.

Increase capacity and capability to conduct high quality multi-disciplinary health protection research in England.

Provide a flexible staff capacity in the event of a major health protection incident.

Retain a level of responsive research capacity to address emerging health protection research requirements.

Topic-based priority areas are:

Environmental change and health

Environmental exposures and health

Chemical and radiation threats and hazards

Emergency preparedness and response

Emerging and zoonotic infections

Blood borne and sexually transmitted infections

Respiratory infections

Gastrointestinal infections

Healthcare associated infections and antimicrobial resistance


Cross-cutting priority areas are:

Behavioural science and evaluation

Genomics and enabling data

Modelling and health economics

HPRUs will work together to provide experience and expertise to drive forward evidence generation in order to inform policy decisions or operational delivery. Additionally, through collaborative working, they will aim to facilitate, where feasible, the translation of health protection research findings into implementable, evidence-based approaches to managing and improving public health.

All universities in England are eligible to apply. Universities will need to have a substantial portfolio of world-class health protection research in the relevant priority area.

The total amount of NIHR funding available for this competition will be up to £56 million over a five year period, starting 1 April 2020. The amount of funding allocated to each HPRU will be informed by the scale, nature and quality of the research activity to be conducted. Funding is expected to be no more than £4 million per HPRU for the five year period.

Stage 1 (initial) applications must be submitted by the deadline of 11 April 2019 (1pm).

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.