By Max Clarke

A new public health research school designed to build closer relations between researchers and practitioners across Public Health England and Local Authorities was launched today by Public Health Minister Anne Milton.
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Public Health Research will aim to increase the evidence base for effective public health practice by:

• conducting research to increase the volume and quality of applied public health research and evidence, including evaluations; and

• creating an environment where first class applied public health research, focused on the needs of the public, can thrive.

It will place an emphasis on what works practically and can be applied across the whole of England and will comprise leading academic centres of applied public health research. The competition for funding is open to academic institutions with a proven track record in applied research and evaluative practice in public health. Each member of the school will receive up to £500,000 a year.

Public Health Minister Anne Milton said:

"More must be done to tackle the big public health issues like smoking, alcohol, poor mental health and obesity. This Government has moved further and faster to achieve this by ring-fencing the public health budget and through Public Health England.

"People's health and wellbeing will be at the heart of everything local councils do. Directors of Public Health will lead local cooperation so that health issues are considered alongside housing, transport, and education.

"Research based evidence has a vital role to play in achieving these aims. The School for Public Health Research was also a White Paper commitment, so I am pleased to see this Call for Proposals underway."

Department of Health Director General for R&D and interim Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said:

"We and other funders have been building public health research and development capacity over the last few years. This new piece of the jigsaw specifically targets the issue of linking high quality academic research into practical measures to improve the health of the population."