£9 million for research to improve health and care in the east of England

Professor Peter Jones, director for the NIHR ARC East of England and CPFT non-executive director with ARC map

Communities with the greatest health challenges across the region are set to benefit from government funding awarded to run applied research projects, which can transform the lives of millions of people managing health issues.

The government has announced a total £135m investment for 15 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaborations (ARC) across the UK, including £9 million for the NIHR ARC East of England, following a successful bid to improve care for mental health, ageing, dementia, learning disabilities, palliative and end-of-life care and for people with multiple conditions.

Focused research projects are being planned to help people in Great Yarmouth and Waveney, Peterborough and Fenland, Stevenage and Thurrock. The Collaboration will also act as national co-lead with the ARC South London for applied research in mental health as well as palliative and end of life care.

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said: “As the population grows and demand on the NHS increases, it is paramount we develop the next generation of technologies and improve the way we work to ensure the NHS continues to offer world-leading care. The UK has a proud history of cutting edge health research and by supporting the great minds in health and social care, this funding has the potential to unlock solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing healthcare and revolutionise the way patients access treatments in the future.”

Hosted by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), the NIHR ARC East of England is a partnership with the Universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, Hertfordshire and Essex together with regional providers of health and social care services, supported by the Eastern Academic Health Science Network. It will take forward work from the predecessor NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC EoE), which has supported the region with research for 11 years.

Professor Peter Jones, director for the NIHR ARC East of England and CPFT non-executive director (pictured) said: “Thank you to all partners who ensured the success of our bid for the region, and shaped a plan to tackle health issues across the lifecourse in some of the most deprived areas. The ARC will build on the achievements of the NIHR CLAHRC EoE, working with an established network of health professionals, researchers and the public. Patients and carers will be involved in our research to make sure it is relevant and meets a wide range of health needs, from young children to frail elderly. We will also fund training for health and social care professionals, and support NHS frontline staff to change practice with research, ensuring care and treatments are effective and provide good value.”

CPFT chief executive Tracy Dowling said: “The Trust is proud to host the ARC for East of England as they continue to make a difference and improve lives through research. As a research active NHS Trust, CPFT has achieved record performance this year helping over 1000 more people take part in studies and is in the UK’s top three NHS Trusts for mental health research. Supporting the ARC we will continue to offer the people we care for more opportunities to shape and take part in research.”

The ARC will work to engage and involve under-represented communities in health and social care research and develop community-led approaches to solve problems.  Applied research projects will bring together patient-led organisations, NHS trusts, local authorities, regional sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) universities, charities, and industry partners.

Operating in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertfordshire and Essex, the ARC will develop a regional research workforce to continue innovating and improving health and social care services. Research findings will be shared widely and translated into practice over five years.

For more information and to get involved contact the ARC team on 01223 465189


About the National Institute for Health Research Collaborations for Applied Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC East of England)

NIHR Applied Research Collaborations are comprised of health and care providers, commissioners, local authorities, universities, private companies, charities, and academics, who will work together to address a specific health or care issue in their region.
 Following a successful pilot scheme from 2008 to 2013, the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) held an open competition that designated and funded 13 NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs).
The CLAHRCs contract will come to an end in 2019, before the new contracts for the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) come into force in October

About the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation's largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:

  •     Funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care
  •     Engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research
  •     Attracts, trains and supports the best researchers to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future
  •     Invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services
  •     Partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy

The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR supports applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries, using UK aid from the UK government.

About Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) is a health and social care organisation, providing integrated community, mental health and learning disability services, across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and children’s community services in Peterborough.

We support around 100,000 people each year and employ more than 3,700 staff. Our largest bases are at the Cavell Centre, Peterborough, and Fulbourn Hospital, Cambridge, but our staff are based in over 90 locations. We are a University of Cambridge Teaching Trust and member of Cambridge University Health Partners, working together with the University of Cambridge Clinical School. Together with global, national and local partners we conduct high-quality and ground-breaking research into mental and physical health and support innovation to improve patient care



A strategic partnership aiming to improve patient care, patient outcomes and population health through innovation and the integration of service delivery, health research and clinical education.

Cambridge University Health Partners (CUHP)