Local Authority Research Systems A qualitative study to inform the development of a South Gloucestershire Council wide research system

  • Funded by Department of Health and Social Care / National Institute for Health and Care Research (DHSC-NIHR)
  • Total publications:0 publications

Grant number: NIHR131952

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Key facts

  • Disease

  • Start & end year

  • Known Financial Commitments (USD)

  • Funder

    Department of Health and Social Care / National Institute for Health and Care Research (DHSC-NIHR)
  • Principle Investigator

  • Research Location

    United Kingdom, Europe
  • Lead Research Institution

    University of Bristol
  • Research Category

    Policies for public health, disease control & community resilience

  • Research Subcategory

    Community engagement

  • Special Interest Tags


  • Study Subject


  • Clinical Trial Details


  • Broad Policy Alignment


  • Age Group


  • Vulnerable Population


  • Occupations of Interest



Background: Public Health located within local authorities (LAs) enables leaders to take a population-level and non-clinical approach to meeting health needs and addressing and preventing issues using interventions and research. The co-location of expertise in public health, social care, and place services in LAs means problems influenced by the wider determinants of health can be tackled with transdisciplinary solutions. It also positions LAs as hotbeds for innovation, with successful models such as Oxfordshire County Council's Innovation Hub (iHub) enabling collaboration with academia and the private sector. There is a need for LA research systems to be formed that will enable LAs to become research active, lead and support the co-production of research with academia and the private sector, evaluate LA initiatives' impact on health and health inequalities, and the timely production and use of evidence to help shape practice and policy. Since 2014, the Public Health and Wellbeing Division based at South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has developed an integrated academic function and is increasingly recognised for research. We recently conducted a qualitative study of the Division's staff, which found that while they valued and were interested in research and evaluation, they faced several barriers. These findings provide some insight into the conditions required to build an SGC research system and will supplement the information from the proposed project. Research Question: How do we create a research system in SGC to produce sustainable and influential research activity across public health, social care, and place services and who are the key stakeholders? Aim: We will conduct a mapping exercise and qualitative interviews to determine who are the key stakeholders in the research system and what is necessary for the system to sustainably produce influential and innovative research activity. Methods and Analysis: This project consists of two workstreams. The first is a mapping exercise that will identify key stakeholders within SGC and its local partners who are crucial to establishing a research system. We will include local NIHR infrastructure and organisations that are research active in the areas of public health, social care, and place. We will identify key roles, contact details, and research projects from each organisation from web pages, electronic reports, and personal communication. We will produce a briefing for each organisation to be compiled in a report. The second workstream is a qualitative study where we will conduct interviews with at least one key stakeholder from each organisation identified from the mapping exercise as well as SGC elected members and senior leadership. We will also interview the four Directors of Public Health who lead the West of England Public Health Partnership. Interviews will be semi-structured, one-to-one, last 30-45 minutes, and recorded. Interviews will be conducted using tailored topic guides and will explore several topics including relationships between SGC and local partners, key roles for developing a productive research system, resource and support, coproducing research, developing social care research, creating a joint innovation function, and the impact of COVID-19. Data will be transcribed, coded, and analysed using the framework method.