IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


£5.5m awarded for child and family health policy research

1 August 2023

The funding from the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) allows the Children and Families Policy Research Unit (CPRU) to continue its work for the next five years from January 2024, and further strengthens its commitment to support evidence-based policymaking.

Two young girls, a mother and father, and grandparents sat on a couch (Photo by Kawee / Adobe Stock)

CPRU is a collaboration between UCL and the universities of Bristol, Oxford, Manchester, Newcastle, Kings College London, Bradford Institute for Health Research, Anna Freud Centre, and Institute of Fiscal Studies. The aim of the CPRU is to conduct high-quality research which enables policymakers and practitioners to make informed decisions which affect the nation’s health and wellbeing.

Under the co-directorship of Professor Ruth Gilbert (GOS Institute of Child Health) and Dr Jenny Woodman (Thomas Coram Research Unit/Social Research Institute at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society), CPRU has worked to deliver ground-breaking research programmes into addressing health inequalities, supporting vulnerable children and families, and improving health outcomes for children with disabilities and long-term conditions. CPRU works closely with children and families to put their experiences at the heart of research and ensure that they can inform and influence policy decisions.

Dr Woodman said: “With this important funding, we will be able to work with analysts and policy colleagues at the Department of Health and Social Care and other government departments to generate and present high-quality evidence at the right time to support their decisions.

“We research what makes children healthier, taking into account the environments in which they live, the places they spend time, the health of their parents and carers and siblings and the health, education and other services they and their families use."

The funding will enable a further five years of research on priority policy areas for child and family health for the Department of Health and Social Care, such as health inequalities, early years support for children and parents, support from health, education and social care for children and young people affected by chronic physical or mental health conditions, and services to address family violence. 

The award is part of a package of funding for Policy Research Units across England and Wales announced by NIHR worth an estimated £100M; UCL hosts five NIHR Policy Research Units and works closely with the University of Newcastle on the Behavioural Science PRU, and with the University of Oxford on the Maternal and Neonatal Health and Care PRU.



Kawee / Adobe Stock