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22/02 Public Health Intervention Responsive Studies Teams (PHIRST) - call for Local Authority Initiatives


  • For help with your application contact
  • For more information about the funding Programme, visit the PHR Page
  • Got a research idea and not sure how to turn it into a funding application? The Research Design Service (RDS) supports health and social care researchers across England on all aspects of developing and writing a funding application. Find out how the RDS can help with your application.

The Public Health Research (PHR) Programme are accepting Expressions of Interest (EoI) from Local Authorities that have initiatives in need of research and evaluation. The shortlisted Expressions of Interest will be given to our Public Health Intervention Responsive Studies Teams (PHIRST) to co-produce research into.

We invite Local Authorities in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland to submit an expression of interest to identify specific initiatives within their work programmes that will benefit from research or evaluation input. The PHR Programme has now appointed six fully-funded academic teams, ready to work in partnership with local authorities to co-design and undertake robust research on prioritised initiatives.

Examples of initiatives currently being evaluated through the PHIRST Scheme can be found via the Local Authority Research link on the PHR landing page. Two of the twenty-four projects currently being worked on include an evaluation of the Hammersmith and Fulham ‘Free universal breakfast club and secondary school meals’ initiative, and an evaluation of ‘New models of remote delivery, in drug and alcohol services, introduced during Covid-19’ in Leeds.

The purpose of this call is to identify and prioritise local authority initiatives which have the potential to impact on health, and which require research input. We anticipate high demand and will prioritise local authority initiatives that:

  • are likely to lead to important impacts on population health
  • are likely to be widely generalisable
  • where there is an identified need for the initiative
  • where the initiative is readily evaluable
  • where the source of the initiative funding is identified and preferably secured
  • where research will provide timely evidence to underpin policy or practice
  • Please note, the research, but not the initiative itself, will be fully funded by the PHR Programme

How to apply

In order to apply to work with one of the PHIRST’s you will need to carefully review the:

and submit your application using the "apply now" button below, by 1pm, 12 September 2022. Guidance on what to include in the expression of interest is contained within the specification document. This will be a rolling call, with cut-off dates twice a year. The next call is anticipated to close early in 2023.