Best Evidence for Best Policy

NOTE: The Policy Research Programme has been incorporated into the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Any new information about the Programme or new calls will be advertised on the NIHR website.

Policy Research Programme

The Policy Research Programme (PRP) is a national research funding programme within the Department of Health (DH) Science, Research and Evidence Directorate (SRE). The aim of the PRP is to commission, fund and manage leading edge research that is focused on the needs of policymakers. The primary objective of the PRP is to assist the Secretary of State for Health and his Ministers - both directly and through policy directorates - as well as Arms-Lengths Bodies such as NHS England, Public Health England and Health Education England, who are formulating, developing or evaluating policies for health and social services or directed at the health of the population as a whole. It does so 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

The PRP commissioning priorities are discussed by the DH R&D Committee, which is chaired by the DH Chief Scientific Adviser. High priority needs are then met by commissioning research via the Central Commissioning Facility. Priorities are also informed by the Department’s strategic objectives 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.