press release
Published: 29 November 2023

Major grant success of around £5 million for Surrey County Council to help reduce health inequalities in collaboration with the University of Surrey

This funding boost will bring experts from Surrey County Council and the University of Surrey together, with other partners, to tackle poor health and health inequalities in Surrey.

The investment from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), for a Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC), will ensure a research-led and evidence-based approach to meeting health priorities. HDRCs are designed to centre around local residents who will influence policy making by setting research priorities, the HDRC grant will build evidence for what works, for who and when to improve and protect the health of the population. Aiming to build the evidence for how to meet the needs of local people, the grant will facilitate research to inform how lifestyle, social, economic, built and natural environment factors (also known as the wider determinants of health) affect health, for example, poor housing conditions, food poverty and air quality.  

Addressing local health inequalities

This ambitious project will facilitate a rigorous focus on health inequalities in Surrey. The substantial funding will ensure sustainability in our approach. We already work closely with the University of Surrey and this research programme will build on our existing relationship to provide people locally with better opportunities and outcomes. Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council

Supporting residents

The NIHR grant is exciting as it will enable us to work more collaboratively with the University of Surrey, Districts and Boroughs and local communities to directly meet people’s health needs in Surrey, leading to better outcomes. Ruth Hutchinson, Surrey County Council’s Director of Public Health

Better health for Surrey residents

I feel privileged to be leading the University’s part in developing the Surrey Health Determinants Research Collaboration.  Our nationally and globally recognised strengths in healthcare research and practice, especially in the School of Health Sciences which will drive this project, our commitment to the communities of Surrey and our partnership with Surrey County Council will help us ensure locally-driven research priorities are driving real and positive change in tackling health inequalities.  This excellent award follows our recent launch of the Surrey Academic Health and Care Science Partnership, a collaborative health and care focussed consortium between the University, Surrey County Council, Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care Board and Health Innovation Kent Sussex Surrey. Surrey County Council already uses research to inform decision making, but together we will use the Health Determinants Research Collaboration to build the role of evidence in accelerating improvements in people’s health. Professor Paul A. Townsend, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

The HDRCs will help to stimulate economic growth, particularly in some of the most deprived areas of the country and contribute to the Government’s plans to take action for the longer-term resilience of the health and wealth of the country.

Ten HDRCs based in local authorities across the UK will commence formally on 1 January 2024. Six further teams (including Surrey) will be given funding to undertake additional developmental work to enable HDRC status by 1 January 2024.

For further information, visit the NIHR website. 

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