We are very pleased that NIHR is continuing to provide support for the HPRU in Emergency Preparedness and Response. Public health emergencies are often complex events, requiring different teams to co-ordinate their efforts and relying on different types of scientific expertise to inform responses and actions. Our unit is unique in bringing together experts who can not only address all the various aspects of public health emergencies individually, but who will also work together to make sure we offer a joined-up solution to protecting health during a crisis.Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Director of NIHR HPRU in Emergency Preparedness and Response from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) King’s College London
27 January 2020
£4 million awarded to continue the work of King's led Health Protection Research Unit
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response led by King’s College London has received continued funding for the next five years.
The unit in Emergency Response and Preparedness is one of 14 Health Protection Research Units in England that will receive funding from NIHR and is the only one specialising in emergency response and preparedness. It will receive £4 million over the next five years to support its research and activities.
First established in April 2014 by NIHR, the unit is a partnership between King’s College London, Public Health England (PHE), the University of East Anglia and, for the first six years, Newcastle University. Its aim is to conduct multidisciplinary research that enhances PHE’s ability to minimise the health impacts of emergencies.
In the last six years, the unit’s work has helped shape how the Government will respond to future flu pandemics, how PHE use training exercises to prepare healthcare workers for crises, and how the mental health of people and populations is protected following terrorism, disease outbreak or disaster.
Looking forward to the next five years the NIHR HPRU in Emergency Preparedness and Response will include four new research themes:
- 'Novel Technologies' will explore how artificial intelligence and ‘big data’ can support PHE’s ability to identify sudden health changes in the community that suggest an underlying issue.
- 'Preparedness' will develop research on improving PHE’s programme of emergency exercises and test ways to help PHE educate the public about risks.
- 'Resilience' will identify ways for PHE to protect public mental health after a crisis.
- 'Response' will improve PHE’s efficiency in responding to emergencies through techniques to measure the public’s reaction and interventions to help reduce the risk of people developing side-effects from important, protective medicines.
Over the last six years the unit has worked to inform and enable effective responses to a wide range of public health emergencies through scientific research. For example, our work has helped us understand the risk factors associated with the transmission of ebola, how best to decontaminate people following a chemical spill, and how to communicate more effectively about the side-effects of medications. We look forward to continuing to work closely to provide relevant and multi-faceted research to inform this important area.Dr James Rubin, Assistant Director for the NIHR HPRU in Emergency Preparedness and Response from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) King’s College London
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) announced the research investment in the HPRUs today. All the new HPRUs will have an additional focus on collaboration and knowledge sharing and will play a pivotal role in maintaining and growing PHE’s scientific expertise and future workforce. The new units will also deliver responsive research to tackle emerging or potential public health emergencies.