New pioneering research collaboration aiming to improve residents’ health in Coventry launches

Monday 09 January 2023

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Coventry University will play a key role in helping Coventry City Council improve the health of its residents through a five-year research collaboration. 

The University was recently announced as one of the key collaborators working with the city council following a £5 million award from the National Institute for Health and Care Research to develop the Coventry Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC).  

The Coventry HDRC aims to help improve health outcomes and tackle health inequalities in the city, and to help inform local and national health policy. 

In a recent council report, Coventry’s population was shown to have below average health and widely differing life expectancies across the city, with men dying ten years earlier than others depending on where they live in the city. 

Additionally, premature mortality in Coventry’s population was found to be higher than other comparable cities, and avoidable differences in health outcomes were found, in part to do with alcohol use, obesity, and tuberculosis. 

It also found a high level of homelessness among young people and families in Coventry – which has an impact on the city’s health and wellbeing outcomes. 

Coventry University will play a major part in developing the HDRC to tackle these issues, alongside the University of Warwick, University College London and University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire.  

Coventry University will lead on training activities with staff at the council to develop their understanding and capability in research. This will involve co-produced research, as well as delivery of mentorship, placements and shadowing opportunities.  

Researchers will support the HDRC to involve the public in identifying priorities, and will enable it to respond to the needs of under served groups and areas in the city. 

Professor Deborah Lycett, Director of Health and Wellbeing Research at the university, said:

We are delighted to be part of this endeavour, working together to not only support and strengthen the council’s research but to also improve the lives of those living in our local community.

It is hoped the Coventry HDRC will enable more evidenced-based decision making at the council and allow it to become more research active. 

 The focus on research into the main areas affecting public health - including jobs, housing, education, and the environment in which people live – will aim to help the council to produce better policies for the city’s residents. 

The creation of the HDRC is a great opportunity to improve research capacity and capability across our organisations.  By better understanding the wider determinants of health, we will be able to find better solutions to the health challenges of our communities.

Sue Frossell, Director of the Coventry HDRC

As well as the Coventry HDRC, nine others were funded in other local authorities including Doncaster, Tower Hamlets, Blackpool and Plymouth, with a further three receiving development award funding to then become full HDRCs in 2023/24.

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