Policy Research Programme (PRP)



The Policy Research Programme (PRP) is a national research funding programme within the Department of Health’s (DH) Research and Development Directorate.

The function of the PRP is to commission, fund and manage leading edge research that is focused on the needs of Ministers and policymakers for evidence to inform policy. It provides timely evidence for current policy needs and builds the evidence-base for future policy-making.

The primary objective of the PRP is to assist colleagues in DH who are formulating, developing or evaluating policy by:

  • providing robust evidence to inform policy development and implementation in timely and accessible ways, including assessment of potential impact and cost-effectiveness
  • evaluating policies, including the evaluation of pilots before policies are fully implemented
  • commissioning research evidence for policy-making over the longer-term.

To do this the PRP commissions a wide range of different types of primary and secondary research.

The PRP commissioning priorities are determined by the Department’s strategic objectives, priorities and business plans, and are influenced by stakeholder consultation and expert advice. It follows, therefore, that the research priorities for the PRP are continually evolving. An overriding priority in 2011/12 is to ensure a robust portfolio of research is in place to inform the development, implementation and evaluation of the Health and Care Reforms.

The PRP funds research in three main ways:

1. Long term programmes of research in academic Policy Research Units (PRUs), designed to meet the longer-term research needs of the DH as well as to provide a rapid response function.
2. Large-scale initiatives, comprising linked groups of studies, providing a range of empirical evidence on a key policy area or issue.
3. Single projects and literature or scoping reviews.

The PRP also contributes to cross government issues and the funding of initiatives by multiple funders including the Research Councils and other Government Departments.

PRP research is usually commissioned by open competitive tender, and always within the requirements of the DH Research Governance Framework for Heath and Social Care (2005). The PRP does not undertake in-house research.

Further details of the programme can be found on the Policy Research Programme website.

For a list of NIHR funding deadlines
take a look at our funding deadlines page.
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