Population Health Research Facility

Population Health Research Facility

The Population Health Research Facility (PHRF), formerly the Survey Office, has been an integral part of the Unit since 1986 when it was set up to conduct the first wave of The West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study. Our focus has been on supporting Unit based studies, but we now have a wider remit which includes supporting studies across the Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Glasgow University, and beyond. The PHRF is also an integral part of plans for the Solutions Focussed Research Theme, which is one of the three Institute of Health and Wellbeing research themes.  


We are an experienced team with expertise in all aspects of conducting and managing research within community settings. We have a particular focus on randomised controlled trials of complex interventions and epidemiological studies. We provide support to research staff in the design, planning, and conduct of research projects. Key services we offer include those described below.

  • We can provide methodological and design advice through our team and in collaboration with our Complexity in Health Improvement Programme.
  • PHRF’s Project and Trial Managers offer detailed project planning and execution, risk/issue management/escalation, day to day stakeholder contact, running of project management meetings, tracking of completed training, ensuring day to day application of the protocol, documenting decisions and changes to plans and reviewing the project budget throughout the study.
  • PHRF’s Operation Manager oversees all project related fieldwork operations, training and other day to day activities, as well as our 45 active fieldworkers and nurses. Our fieldworkers are trained in a variety of data collection tools (including anthropometrics, clinical measures, questionnaires, accelerometry etc.) and are a flexible workforce who can complete out of hours and weekend work if required. They support the research in the field by identifying and recruiting participants, completing data collection visits, and ensuring excellent follow-up rates.
  • Our Study Materials Designer can provide expertise in editing, formatting, and using plain English in study documents such as Participant Information Sheets, letters and consents. Other activities include designing project logos, project specific advertising leaflets, infographics and other relevant materials as well as managing operations associated with the printing of study materials.
  • Our Data Management Team offers both qualitative and quantitative data entry. This process is governed by the Unit's Standard Operating Procedures, which include a high level of quality control ensuring excellent quality datasets. The Data Manager also oversees data transfer and liaison with external data entry companies.
  • Finally, we offer database development both in-house and in collaboration with colleagues in the Robertson Centre.
  • We provide general support with project costing, safety of lone working staff, equipment loans and management, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) development, archiving, ethics support and NHS and R&D application support.


If you are interested in working with us on a study and would like to discuss this then please contact Sharon Simpson (0141 353 7640) or Marcela Gavigan (0141 353 7520).

If you are taking part in one of our studies and would like more information or would like to tell us about a change of contact details, please email us at survadmin@sphsu.mrc.ac.uk or contact us on our FREEPHONE number 0800 389 2129 and we will be happy to help you.

MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit