DSPI will be part of new NIHR Policy Research Unit in Children and Families

NIHR logo

The National Institute for Health Research has today launched a new set of 13 NIHR Policy Research Units to undertake research to inform decision-making by government and arms-length bodies. The £65 million investment over five years will ensure that the government and arms-length bodies have the best possible information and evidence available when making policy decisions about health and social care.

DSPI Director of Research, Professor Jane Barlow, will be a key member of the new NIHR Policy Research Unit (PRU) in Children and Families, which will be co-directed by Professor Ruth Gilbert and Professor Sir Terence Stephenson from University College London. Jane will lead the research theme on early interventions for children and families across the life course and will support qualitative and mixed methods research and systematic reviews across the programme.

Along with the other 12 new NIHR units, the Children and Families PRU will provide both a long-term resource for policy research and a rapid-response service to provide evidence for emerging policy needs. The units will also offer advice to policy makers and analysts on the evidence base and options for policy development. They will host a multidisciplinary team of researchers from collaborating institutions, to create a critical mass of experts for research in priority areas for health and social care policy.

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health and Social Care, said:

“Patients and the public deserve a healthcare system that is informed by the latest research and evidence. The NIHR Policy Research Units will make sure that Government decisions affecting our health and care are robust and evidence based.”


The unit will begin work in January 2019.