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NIHR Public Health Research Programme

Maximum Grant: £0

Submission deadline: 25th October 2019

NIHR Public Health Research Programme: 19/106 Changes to the welfare system

There is a large body of evidence on socio-economic inequalities in health and wellbeing that suggests a positive relationship between access to sufficient financial resources and health status. In theory, access to sufficient financial resources provided by the social security system for people not in work or on a low wage could have positive impacts on health. The new Universal Credit payment provides help with living costs for those on a low income or out of work and replaces a previous system of six means-tested benefits. However, there is no specific research about how the implementation of Universal Credit impacts on health and health inequalities.

There are no fixed limits on the duration of projects or funding and proposals should be tailored to fully address the problem. 

The implementation of Universal Credit could have an impact health and health inequalities in a range of ways. It is therefore important to evaluate the policy prior to full implementation. For some time, public health researchers have been arguing that the evaluation of new policies and interventions is more effective if it is planned and conducted prior to full‐scale implementation. Nevertheless, researchers are also aware that it is very difficult to control the timing of a policy intervention or prevent concurrent policy change from affecting populations under investigation.

Outcomes to be researched could include (but are not limited to): physical health, mental health, debt, food security, fuel security, diet and nutrition, and health and social care service use. webinar to support applications to this funding opportunity, on 25 October, 15:00-16:00.


The Public Health Research Programme are accepting stage 1 applications to their commissioned workstream for this topic.

In order to apply you will need to carefully review the:

Commissioning brief: https://www.nihr.ac.uk/documents/19106-changes-to-the-welfare-system/22028 
Stage 1 guidance notes: https://www.nihr.ac.uk/documents/phr-stage-1-guidance-notes/11661 
PHR supporting information: https://www.nihr.ac.uk/documents/phr-supporting-information-for-applicants-submitting-stage-1-and-2-applications/11759 

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