In 2006, the major funders of public health research in the UK came together under the the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) to develop a coordinated approach to improving the UK public health research environment.

The findings of the UKCRC Public Health Research Strategic Planning Group (SPG) are documented in the report:

Centres of Excellence

The outcome of the SPG was a £20 million investment which in 2008-09 established five Centres of Excellence, based in Newcastle, Cardiff, Belfast, Cambridge and Nottingham.

The Centres of Excellence are designed to strengthen research into complex public health issues such as obesity, smoking and health inequalities. The Centres bring together leading experts from a range of disciplines and work in partnership with practitioners, policymakers and wider stakeholders to tackle public health issues

The five Centres are:

The ESRC provides administrative management of the Centres.

The Centres make an important contribution to the ESRC strategic priority on ‘influencing behaviour and informing interventions’ by researching the underlying reasons for different health-related behaviours and how people and groups might respond to different interventions.


The co-funders of the Initiative are: