Launch of NIHR ARCs - ARC Community e-newsletter Issue 1

Published Date: 31 Oct 2019

Welcome to the community e-newsletter for the NIHR ARCs, bringing you news from across the fifteen collaborations.

In this special newsletter edition, we celebrate the launch of the 15 new NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) which are funded for five years from October 2019. The ARCs will support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local populations and local health and care systems.

ARCs will also aim to deliver national-level impact through significant collaboration between the ARCs, with individual ARCs providing national leadership within their fields of expertise.

The 15 ARCs are:

Follow us on twitter and read more on the NIHR Website


ARC West and PenARC joined forces to get NIHR’s work in the South West on TV: how NIHR research is helping families after domestic abuse
ARC South London hosts annual events dedicated to implementation science - Implementation Science Masterclass 15 - 16 July, Implementation Science Research Conference 17 July 2020 email
ARC North West London -
 launch event on 13th November - Registration is now open

ARC East of England
NIHR ARC EoE is a collaboration between Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (host), the universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, Essex and Hertfordshire and key partners in health and social care including Trusts, charities, industry and partner-led organisations. We will focus our research and community engagement in four 'Populations in Focus (PIFs)' to make the greatest difference in areas identified as having high health needs, namely Great Yarmouth and Waveney, Peterborough and Fenland; Stevenage, and Thurrock. Our research themes are:

  • Ageing and multi-morbidity - improving how people with complex needs are supported by services to live well, including medicines optimisation for people with multiple health problems; dementia; and care homes.
  • Population evidence and data science - adding to the evidence base on the use of data to understand population health needs and outcomes. 
  • Inclusive involvement in research for practice led health and social care – evidencing the best ways of working in partnership with patients, service users, carers and members of the public to design, carry out, share and implement research findings.
  • Health economics and prioritisation in health and social care – evidencing the costs and outcomes of different forms of treatment and care, and developing ‘best practice’ methods for analysing costs and the wide range of patient-centred outcomes.
  • Mental health over the life course - reducing social and health inequalities for people with mental health difficulties, focussing on jobseekers and the health care workforce; the gap between physical and mental health services; and children and young people.
  • Palliative and end of life care – focussing on inequalities in service provision for PEoLC; out-of-hours care; and the PEoLC needs of the ageing population who have multiple conditions. 
  • Prevention and early detection in health and social care - to identify and address ways to support different populations and potentially vulnerable groups to keep healthy and well.

ARC North Thames

ARC North Thames is a partnership between six leading universities, our Academic Health Service Network, NHS and local authority organisations and communities, industry and charities. Over six million people live in our region, an ethnically diverse population in inner city, urban and rural communities across parts of London, Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire. The neighbourhoods we cover range from England’s sixth most affluent to the third most deprived.
Working around five themes - Mental health, Multimorbidity, Population health and social care, Innovation and implementation and Health economics and data – we’ll identify the health and care problems that most concern everyone in our region, design innovative research in response to those needs and then quickly put our findings into practice. The ARC’s Academy delivers a successful programme of short courses in research methods and a PhD programme as well as other development opportunities for front-line professionals interested in research.

ARC North West Coast
Building on CLAHRC-NWC’s legacy, ARC-NWC focuses on addressing the considerable health inequalities across our region. Therefore we have further expanded our consortium of Universities, Health and Social Care providers, Public/Community Advisers, Charities, and Commissioners, enhancing responsiveness to diverse needs, to achieve step-changes in delivering evidence-based improvements in health and social care that address regional and national priorities and effectively reduce health inequalities.

Initially we shall always systematically interrogate existing evidence, identifying areas of uncertainty or conflict, before undertaking new applied research or proactively implementing relevant research.

ARC-NWC’s infrastructure embeds co-production with Partners and full public participation within communities of learning and practice, supported by our academic resources. ARC-NWC will deliver high-quality applied research and implementation projects, strategically aligned through our Research Development, Delivery and Implementation Pipelines, encompassing robust systems for co-conception/production/delivery and Partner prioritisation, mainstreaming health inequalities.
To ensure sustainable excellent innovation, we will concentrate on supporting small to medium-sized self-contained studies, cross-ARC programmes and pump-priming competitive collaborative applications for external funding. Our research themes have been co-produced with Partner and Public/Community Adviser involvement, and are supported by clear simple structures co-designed to facilitate involvement. Our themes address key challenges for health and care: personalised care complexity, population health, and place-based health systems. Cross-cutting themes have been chosen to apply academic excellence to support programme-wide activity. Our Implementation and Capacity-building team will ensure research findings inform changes to practice and policy to maximise health and care outcomes. Supported by the Innovation Agency, we will work with industry to drive regional economic growth.

ARC North West London
Our research programme will be conducted via four research themes and three cross-cutting themes, with the overarching goal to build sustainable infrastructure for continual improvement in health behaviours, population health, and reduce health inequalities in North West London (NWL).
For example, our Innovation and Evaluation cross-cutting theme aims to improve translation of innovation into practice. This will benefit people in NWL by:

  • reducing variation in quality of care received,
  • improving access to innovations, technologies, and support services, and
  • improve care experience, quality of life, and outcomes.

At our NIHR ARC NWL launch event on the afternoon of 13th November, we will share the research focus of our themes and establish a common purpose through working together with our wider stakeholders - Registration is now open
Follow our progress through our new website

October 1st saw the dawn of a new era of health research in the South West. As PenARC we will continue the work of PenCLAHRC by addressing local health and care needs but also develop our research portfolio around the themes of Complex Care, Dementia, Mental Health, Public Health and Methods for Research and Improvement. We are excited to be working collaboratively across the South West peninsula on our areas of research strength while responding to national priorities, and leading across the ARC network in the area of Child Health.
PenARC is a collaboration between the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter, 25 NHS and local authority organisations across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, local charities and the South West AHSN. We are looking forward to another five years of fantastic research, capacity building and involvement and helping to shape better outcomes for patients and supporting effective health and social care, locally and nationally.
Read more

New PenARC-supported research into social prescribing has begun to reveal what works, for whom and why.
Social prescribing involves prescribing non-medical, community or social activities to help manage conditions and is increasingly used by GPs. Previously there has been insufficient evidence to evaluate its effectiveness but the new research, What approaches to social prescribing work, for whom, and in what circumstances? A realist review, highlights the fact that social prescribing is not a single intervention but a series of relationships, all of which need to function. It also highlights the vital role of a link worker in ensuring that the social prescribing process has the best chance of success.
Lead author Dr Kerryn Husk said, “It’s a long and complex road that is vital to understand if the health service wants to work towards patient-centred care, but it’s a subject we’re keen on pursuing.”
Read more

ARC South London
NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) South London aims to conduct high-quality research to help the NHS and care services offer excellent care based on sound evidence across south London and beyond. Our research responds to the needs of local patients, and local health and care systems. In particular, we aim to address the challenges of an ageing society, more people living with multimorbidities, and address inequalities in health and care. We also aim to increase the rate at which research findings are implemented into practice by working closely with our Academic Health Science Centre – the Health Innovation Network. Our research will focus on:

  • Alcohol
  • Children and young people
  • Maternity and perinatal mental health
  • Public health and multimorbidity
  • Palliative and end of life care
  • Patient and public involvement research
  • Social care.

These themes will be supported by cross-cutting themes: Applied informatics, Economics and biostatistics, Implementation research and Capacity building.

ARC West
All aboard ARC West: our Director Professor John Macleod on his hopes for the next phase of our collaboration
ARC West Director John Macleod’s blog on his hopes for ARC West and what the team will be focusing on in the new themes of healthier childhoods, integrated and optimal care, mental health and public health and prevention.
Read more on the new ARC West website

Surgical procedures need better evaluation to avoid over-treatment and wasted resources, study finds
Trialling surgical procedures more widely before they are adopted would avoid over-treatment and wasted resources, research published in the British Medical Journal Open and led by the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West (CLAHRC West) and Universities of Bristol and Oxford has shown.
Read more 

ARC West Midlands
Our proposed ARC will deliver benefits to patients and the public by implementing safe, efficient and person-centred health and social care. The ARC will be deeply embedded in the service and will involve and engage patients and the public; it has been designed to identify, prioritise, develop and evaluate interventions to improve service delivery and to synthesise knowledge across the themes. ARC WM will identify the issues most relevant to needs of patients, their communities and local health and care systems, prioritising projects identified by public contributors. We will work with service managers to develop implementations, with social care and public health woven into the fabric of each Theme.  Our methodologists and health economists will support implementation and evaluation, along with expertise from Organisational Sciences in digital technologies and behavioural psychology. Our ARC will nurture postgraduates and researchers to develop capacity which will continue to create impact over the coming years.

  • Theme 1: Long Term Conditions (Lead: Christian Mallen) - Evaluating new models of care to improve integration, patient satisfaction and efficiency.
  • Theme 2: Acute Care Interfaces (Lead: Dan Lasserson) - Studying how interfaces along the acute care pathway function in order to create a resilient acute care system.
  • Theme 3: Integrated Care in Youth Mental Health (Lead: Swaran Singh) - Focusing on young people where the majority of severe mental health problems begin. 
  • Theme 4: Maternity (Lead: Sara Kenyon) - Exploring the recommended changes to maternity services and identifying areas for care and system improvement.
  • Theme 5 (Cross-cutting): Organisational Science (Lead: Graeme Currie) - Examining potential solutions to the integrated care on organisational, individual and technological levels. 
  • Theme 6 (Cross-cutting): Research Methodology, Informatics and Rapid Response (Lead: Richard Lilford) - Supporting research themes with statistics and health economics and innovating the development and use of research methods to improve service delivery.

ARC Yorkshire and Humber 
The NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Yorkshire and Humber is an important programme of applied research, hosted within Bradford Institute for Health Research, and delivered through a partnership of organisations, including NHS organisations, Local Authorities, universities, third sector organisations and industry.

The Yorkshire and Humber ARC supports people-powered research that aims to tackle inequalities and improve health and well-being for our communities. Our themes of healthy childhoodmental health and multimorbidityolder people and urgent care are the priorities that have been identified by our NHS partners and the public and will ensure our region will benefit from cutting-edge innovation. The Yorkshire and Humber ARC will ensure the region’s NHS and social services are able to improve effectiveness and impact to benefit patients and their families.