Unfortunately, your browser is too old to work on this website. Please upgrade your browser
Skip to main content

Policy Research Unit to drive improving health and reducing inequalities in Scotland Funding to set up a Policy Research Unit to drive improving health and reducing inequalities in Scotland.

Image of main street in Scotland

This programme is closed for applications.

  • The Health Foundation is setting up a new Policy Research Unit in Scotland to take forward work to improve health and reduce inequalities, following the publication of the Leave no one behind report.
  • We are offering up to £1.2m in grant funding to set up and run the unit to develop and deliver a 3-year programme of activity.
  • Applications are now open and the deadline for applications is 12.00 (midday) on Wednesday 27 September 2023.

In 2022, the Health Foundation led an independent review into the state of health and inequalities in Scotland, leading to a final report, Leave no one behind. Published in January 2023, the report highlights concerning trends that indicate a lack of improvement in the decade before the pandemic and, in many cases, widening inequalities, with signs that the most disadvantaged are being left behind. This is underlined by increasing rates of extreme poverty.

There were three areas of particular concern highlighted in the report: the prevalence of drug-related deaths; inequalities in the health and experiences of infants and children; and health and socioeconomic outcomes among young and middle-aged men.

The overall lack of progress on health and widening inequalities comes despite continued policy focus and detailed surveillance and data collection. The report concludes that Scotland can build on strong policy intent to reduce stubbornly high inequalities.

The Health Foundation is supporting this renewed ambition by allocating up to £1.2m in funding to set up a new Policy Research Unit to drive action that improves health and reduces inequalities in Scotland.

Aim of the unit

The Policy Research Unit will develop and deliver a 3-year programme of activity that leads to actionable policy and approaches that can improve health and reduce inequalities in Scotland. The unit is expected to formally launch by early 2024.

The work of the unit will focus on two key areas:

  • providing an independent and critical voice in relation to improving health and health inequalities policy in Scotland
  • working with people involved in policy delivery to enable the development of practical and credible solutions to the implementation gap between policy intent and the experience on the ground.

A key principle underpinning this work is to ensure that the activities, outputs and policy calls are developed and owned by Scotland, and its institutions and communities.

The objectives of the work programme will be to:

  • understand barriers to policy implementation and formulate actionable recommendations in the two priority areas: early years, and young and middle-aged men
  • provide a policy research function in Scotland to speak to health implications of key policy issues in Scotland, setting the agenda and shaping public debate
  • engage and influence key stakeholders across sectors, key political leaders, the public and local communities  
  • continue to build the Health Foundation’s presence and influence in Scotland.

Invitation to apply

The Health Foundation is inviting experienced policy research organisations that are based in Scotland to apply for the funding. Applicants will have significant experience in research and policy in relation to health and inequalities with a specific focus on the determinants of health – social and economic drivers of our health. As well as experience working collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders, including the public.

The programme will open for applications on Thursday 17 August 2023.

Our information call on Thursday 24 August 2023 outlined the Call for applications and included a Q&A with members of the Health Foundation programme team. Catch up on the slides and Frequently asked questions.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying, please follow these steps:

  • Before applying, please read the Call for applications document, Guidance for applicants and Frequently asked questions.
  • To begin your application, you will need to register on our online applicant portal. You will then receive an email with a link to complete an application form. Applications must be submitted via the online portal by the deadline, 12.00 (midday) on Wednesday 27 September 2023. No late submissions will be accepted.
  • The Health Foundation programme panel will assess written applications against the programme’s assessment criteria. The panel will include members of the Health Foundation who will manage the award programme, as well as external assessors.
  • We will then invite successful applicants to present their plans to the panel. As part of the presentation, the panel will have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss plans in more detail.
  • Panel presentations will take place in person at a venue in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Friday 20 October 2023.
  • The Health Foundation will notify teams of the final decisions on their applications by 17.00, Monday 23 October 2023. We will offer unsuccessful applicants feedback on their applications.

Further reading

  • Work
  • Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

    Get social

    Follow us on Twitter
    Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

    Work with us

    We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

    View current vacancies
    Artboard 101 copy 2

    The Q community

    Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

    Find out more