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Stay one step ahead with this forward look at some of the key opportunities to get involved in our grant programmes, research projects, networks and fellowships over the coming year. 

Funding and research opportunities

Research call on emotional support for young people 

Our Young people’s future health inquiry found that emotional support during the ages 12 to 24 is an important asset to support a smooth transition to adulthood. However, there is little evidence exploring what good emotional support entails and the conditions necessary both within families and wider communities to enable this. In the summer, we will be launching a research programme to provide funding to build evidence of what good emotional support looks like during the ages of 12–24.  

Funding call for REAL Centre research units 

We have £14m of funding for 2022–2028 to establish two new research units that will help to further the work of the REAL Centre. The units will develop broad, potentially multi-disciplinary, research programmes across the areas of demand for and supply of health and social care and support the design and delivery of a fellowship programme. Potential units will be able to apply in 2021, watch out for more information in the next few months. 

Research call on AI, data-driven technologies and ethnic minorities 

In the spring we will be launching a research call in partnership with NHSX’s NHS Artificial Intelligence Lab, which will be administered by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). Funding will be available for projects that support the advancement of artificial intelligence and data-driven technologies in health in a way that better meets the needs of minority ethnic populations. We will be sharing more information about this opportunity soon. 

Q Exchange funding 

A new round of Q Exchange will take place in 2021. Members of the Q Community can apply for up to £30k to deliver projects, from a total pot of £600k provided by the Health Foundation and NHS England and NHS Improvement. Potential projects are developed and refined during an online collaborative process, allowing project teams to benefit from the insight and knowledge within the Q Community. The theme of Q Exchange will be announced nearer the time. Find out more


Fellowships and networks 

Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice 

The Harkness Fellowships aim to produce the next generation of health policy leaders in participating countries. The scheme offers a unique opportunity to spend 12 months in the United States as a Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice. Run by the Commonwealth Fund, in collaboration with the Health Foundation and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), fellowships are suitable for mid-career professionals, including government policymakers, academic researchers, clinical leaders, hospital and insurance managers, and journalists. The next standard call for applications for the 2022–23 Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice will be announced in spring 2021.  

Sciana: The Health Leaders Network 

The Sciana network brings together senior health and health care leaders who share a strong commitment to shaping the future of health care landscapes, providing the space and time to share learning and take inspiration from an international context. Each cohort comprises up to 19 outstanding leaders, at least six each from Germany, Switzerland and the UK. Applications for the next round will be open from February 2021 until the summer.    

THIS Institute Post-doctoral Fellowships 

Awards of up to £225,000 are available to fund post-doctoral fellowships where fellows will lead an extended period of research and contribute to the development of the field of health care improvement studies. Universities can nominate individuals with a clinical or non-clinical professional background in any discipline that can make a contribution to research focused on improving health care for people in the UK. Applications will open in March 2021. Find out more.  

Q community 

Q is an initiative connecting people who have improvement expertise across the UK. There are over 4,000 members and the community continues to grow. Q’s mission is to foster continuous and sustainable improvement in health and care, creating opportunities for people to come together to share ideas, enhance skills and collaborate to make health and care better. Opportunities to join Q are open on a continuous basis. We welcome applications from people with improvement expertise based anywhere in the UK and Ireland. Join Q.   

Health Anchors Learning Network 

Anchor institutions are large, public sector organisations that are unlikely to relocate and have a significant stake in a geographical area. As a major employer, estate owner and procurer of goods, the NHS can use its influence as an anchor institution to support and accelerate a sustainable socio-economic recovery from the pandemic. In February 2021, in partnership with NHS England and NHS Improvement, we will launch a UK-wide network to enable the spread of learning on how NHS organisations can fulfil their role as anchor institutions, working in partnership with other organisations in local places. Find out more.

Community of Practice for Social Care Analytics 

We’re funding Future Care Capital to develop a community of practice which will help meet the urgent need for more effective data and analytics in social care. The community brings together data analysts, researchers, policymakers and other practitioners from across the private, public and charitable sector, as well as people with lived experience of social care, with the aim of sharing ideas, building links and exchanging good practice. Find out more


Supplier opportunities 

ITT: REAL Centre social care modelling 

We will shortly be looking to commission a supplier to develop a model (or models) to project future adult social care demand, workforce supply and output. The work is one phase of a multi-phase, multi-disciplinary approach to developing a suite of health and social care supply and demand projection models. We anticipate bids of approximately £250,000 inclusive of VAT and expenses. Look out for more information coming soon. 

ITT: Support partner for the Adopting Innovation programme 

We are seeking a supplier to support the delivery of our Adopting Innovation programme from May 2021 through to early 2024. This innovative programme will support up to four innovation hubs – centres of expertise and support within NHS provider organisations to help them become better adopters of innovation. We anticipate bids up to a maximum of £290,000 (inclusive of VAT and expenses). Apply by 10 February 2021. Find out more


Events and online learning opportunities 

Follow our events page for details of all upcoming events, webinars and other learning opportunities. In particular, watch out for: 

Annual REAL Centre Lecture 

Following the launch of the Health Foundation’s REAL Centre at the end of last year, the second annual lecture and report are planned for Autumn 2021, with a focus on social care reform. Look out for further details in the coming months. 

UKPRP webinar series 

Next autumn, we will host the UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP) webinar series, exploring what have we learned so far from the UKPRP. The partnership is working to generate new insights into actionable, sustainable and cost-effective ways of preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that will improve population health and reduce health inequalities in the UK. 

Q events and webinars  

Q runs regular virtual events, collaborative learning sessions and discussion groups on a wide range of themes related to improvement. Follow the Q events page for details.  

Health Foundation podcast 

Our new podcast series looks at the most important issues affecting the future of health and care for people in the UK. In each episode our chief executive Dr Jennifer Dixon interviews the leading minds in health and health care, and high-profile guests from politics and beyond, to get their views on the most topical issues and their implications for our health.  

Listen again to recent episodes: 

Other ways to get involved 

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This content originally featured in our email newsletter, which explores perspectives and expert opinion on a different health or health care topic each month.

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