New research funding to tackle gambling and addiction
Published: 1 August 2023
Gambling has been included in the NIHR Addictions Policy Research Unit, following recommendations made by experts at the University of Glasgow.
Gambling has been included in the new National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Addictions Policy Research Unit, following recommendations made by experts at the University of Glasgow.
NIHR has awarded over £100 million to 20 new Policy Research Units (PRUs) across England, to tackle important emerging health and social care issues including reproductive health, addiction and dementia.
The PRUs, funded by NIHR’s Policy Research Programme, play a vital role in making sure the government and arm’s length bodies have the best possible information and evidence available when making policy decisions about health and social care.
A £5.5 million funding award from the NIHR will support the creation of a PRU investigating addictions, led by the University of Sheffield, King’s College London and the University of Glasgow.
The inclusion of gambling follows recommendations made by Professors Gerda Reith and Heather Wardle, of Gambling Research Glasgow, to incorporate gambling into a Policy Research Unit, in the context of gambling harms and rapidly changing gambling technologies.
Professor Heather Wardle, of Gambling Research Glasgow, said: "We're delighted that gambling has been included in the new Addictions Policy Research Unit, raising the profile and esteem of gambling research and policy in an unprecedented way. Working with a talented team of researchers, we'll be able to look at commonalities and differences across addictive behaviours and products to support effective policy development.”
The funding will support research programmes that will tackle important long-standing and emerging health and social care issues, and ensure policy makers have the best possible information and evidence available when making decisions about health and social care services.
The PRU's main aim is to support policy makers in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), and their arm’s length bodies including NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to respond to policy research needs and develop research programmes that provide evidence for current and emerging research priorities.
The PRU system has been running successfully since the 1970s, offering the DHSC direct access to top academics in various fields. Over the past 5 years, the 15 current PRUs have provided evidence for a variety of different policy priority areas. They have provided both a long-term resource for policy research and a rapid response service to provide evidence for emerging policy needs.
Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Advisor, DHSC Chief Executive of NIHR, said: "In the NIHR, we have a range of ways to make sure that health and care research benefits patients and the public. The NIHR’s new Policy Research Units are designed to provide strong evaluation of policy. This helps government and related organisations to be able to act on the latest evidence when making decisions about health and social care that could impact us all.”
First published: 1 August 2023