Who we are and what we do

The NIHR Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Evaluation of Interventions is part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and is a partnership between University of Bristol and Public Health England (PHE) in collaboration with University College London, Medical Research Council (MRC) Biostatistics Unit at the University of Cambridge, and the University of the West of England. It was established in April 2014.

Thirteen HPRUs, funded by the NIHR, act as centres of excellence in multidisciplinary health protection research in England. Most are topic-based but ours is cross-cutting and therefore works collaboratively with other HPRUs.

Role and purpose

Our role is to support PHE in delivering its objectives and functions for the protection of the public’s health, with a focus on the PHE priority area of infection.

Our aim is to support intervention development and evaluation to inform clinical and public health policy, practice and guidance. We also aim to develop new and better methodologies to support evaluation research, both in the laboratory and through statistical and analytical innovation.

Our research

Our research team includes specialists in epidemiology, paediatrics, primary care, sexual health, evidence synthesis, statistical and mathematical modelling, behavioural science, health psychology, qualitative methods, health economics, trial design, and patient and public involvement. We provide capacity for rapid evidence development in the context of emergency health protection response.

Our research themes include: economic evaluation and epidemic modelling, population studies, primary care, evidence synthesis, and behavioural science

People and partners

The HPRU Directors are Professor Matthew Hickman from Population Health Sciences at the University of Bristol and Professor Isabel Oliver, Director of Field Epidemiology for Public Health England.

Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPI) is led by Professor David Evans and Dr Noreen Hopewell-Kelly at the University of the West of England in partnership with NIHR CLAHRC-West.

The HPRU also provides support for Bristol Health Partners Health Integration Teams (HITs) concerned with health protection. HITs are cross-organisational and interdisciplinary groups set up to harness research, innovation, education, healthcare and prevention strengths to improve health outcomes. Our current health protection related HITs are:

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