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Two teams selected to become REAL Research Units and carry out ambitious research on the demand for and supply of health and social care

1 March 2023

About 3 mins to read

The Health Foundation has selected two research teams to take part in its new REAL Research Units programme.

Research teams from the University of York and the University of Oxford have been selected by the Health Foundation to be part of its new REAL Research Units programme. The programme involves the setting up of two new research units that will work in partnership with the Health Foundation’s REAL Centre to design and deliver research programmes aimed at improving the quality of decision making in health and social care.

The two units will work together with the REAL Centre team to carry out high-quality research focusing on the REAL Centre’s areas of interest: demand for, and supply of, health and social care. Each research unit will receive up to £3.725m of funding over seven years.

The Health Foundation’s REAL Centre (Research and Economic Analysis for the Long term) provides independent analysis and research to support better long-term decision making in health and social care. Its aim is to help health and social care leaders and policymakers look beyond the short term to understand the implications of their decisions around issues such as funding, investment and training over the next 10–15 years.

The REAL Research Units programme will develop leadership, advocacy and learning which will build consensus and develop the infrastructure needed to influence longer-term approaches to policy and funding decisions.

The two REAL Research Units are:

  • York research unit, University of York
    The York research unit will carry out research on the supply of health and social care, with the aim of shaping a more resilient and equitable health and care system through long-term, sustainable policymaking. The research unit will also work in collaboration with Personal Social Services Research Unit, University of Kent, Health Economics Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, Scottish Policy and Research Exchange and Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York.
  • Oxford research unit, University of Oxford
    The Oxford research unit will transform the understanding of demand for health and social care, using individual-level data to analyse how health evolves and interacts with families’ socioeconomic lives and environment. The research unit will also work in collaboration with Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science and Centre for Experimental Social Sciences, University of Oxford and Centre for Health Economics, University of York.

Announcing the new research units, Anita Charlesworth, Director of the REAL Centre, said: “The setting up of the REAL Research Units is a unique opportunity to build both the research capacity and critical mass needed to deliver on the REAL Centre’s ambitions to improve the quality of decision making in health and social care.

“The units will be integral to the work of the REAL Centre, enabling collaboration, partnerships and knowledge mobilisation which will translate our work into impact.”

Professor Philip Clarke, Director of the Health Economics Research Centre at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, and lead for the demand research unit, said: “We are delighted to be part of the ambitious REAL Research Units programme and are looking forward to working in collaboration with the REAL Centre to develop evidence to address the long-standing challenges facing the health and care system, and to transform the understanding of demand for health and care in England.”

Nils Gutacker, Professor of Health Economics at the University of York and lead for the supply research unit, said: “We need to think ahead and tackle problems before they disrupt the supply of health and care. This requires us to think more strategically. Becoming a REAL Research Unit will offer a rare opportunity to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and co-develop an ambitious economic research agenda focused on health and care supply – with tangible outcomes that will have a real influence on how policymakers think about the future.”

Susan Griffin, Professor of Health Economics, University of York and lead for the supply research unit, said: “The research unit represents an ambition to combine the focus and efforts of people across health and social care in order to transform how the long-term outlook is reflected in decisions.”

Contact at the Health Foundation:

  • Navdeep Sidhu, Marketing and Communications Manager
  • T: 020 7257 8067

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