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Developing the Long-term Research Agenda A programme exploring how research can contribute to the UK’s future resilience and preparedness for health shocks in the wake of COVID-19.

  • This research programme launched in October 2020 to develop a UK-wide, shared vision for the long-term research agenda in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • It is highly participatory to ensure input from a wide range of groups including those most impacted by the pandemic.
  • The programme has strategic support by the Nuffield Foundation and João Rangel de Almeida (Consultant at World Health Organisation). 
  • It builds on the UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery.
  • This is a participatory research programme that does not involve giving out funding.

About the programme

The long-term impacts of COVID-19 stretch far beyond our usual measures for health, and the consequences for health outcomes and global recovery are not yet understood. While much of the early research funded in response to COVID-19 focused on biomedical and clinical needs, beyond the initial recovery phase, it will be important to look at the broader impacts of the pandemic. This may include research on inequalities, health service and social care delivery and population health.

The Health Foundation has established a long-term research agenda programme to develop a shared vision for the long-term social, political, economic and public health research and evidence requirements to support the UK to become more resilient to future health shocks like COVID-19.    

Intended to support funders, researchers, and policymakers, the programme will identify and prioritise areas of work – from under researched topic areas through to the infrastructure, systems and processes – required to support this. In doing so it will provide a platform for further debate and action on key issues and research challenges emerging from COVID-19 and as a result of health inequalities and the wider determinants of health.    

The research process

Ipsos, working with partners RAND Europe and The Strategy Unit, is supporting the Health Foundation in engaging with stakeholders to develop this long-term research agenda.   

It provides a unique opportunity to explore the intersections between different groups’ experiences of the pandemic. The programme is using an in-depth deliberative process and has been designed to be highly participatory bringing together experts from across disciplines, funders, policy and practice, with the public including underrepresented and diverse groups that have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.

The programme entails a scoping phase including desk-based research and interviews with those working in this space, a series of mini-workshops with underrepresented and diverse groups that have been adversely impacted by the pandemic, interviews with stakeholders across research and policy audiences through a Delphi process, and three half-day online deliberative summits with the public. The findings of this research will be collated and shared with key audiences to provide a platform for further debate and action on key social, political and economic and public health issues and research challenges emerging from COVID-19.

The programme's aims

The results of these broad engagement activities will be used to identify, refine and develop the key areas and associated research questions on which UK-wide research funding programmes and research activity across the UK can helpfully focus to bring about future resilience.

The knowledge and evidence required for a successful recovery will be significant, but the programme focuses on the long-term social, political, economic and public health research agenda in relation to:

  • health and care outcomes and their distribution across society – this includes the direct impact on wellbeing, morbidity and mortality through this period and beyond, as well as the indirect impact caused by socio-economic changes in response to the pandemic and the influence on the wider determinants of health
  • the structure and delivery of health and social care services, including the future provision and demand for services, potential for service innovation, access to services, quality and efficiency
  • public health systems
  • policymaking to plan, prepare and manage key threats to health in the future and the co-ordination of policies across sectors.

If you would like to find out more about the programme, please email covid.agenda@health.org.uk.

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