Cross-Sector Research Opportunities

Cross-Sector Research Opportunities

NortHFutures is a research programme that is people-powered and provides opportunities for all to engage in digital health and health-tech initiatives.  

We fund scoping research in the field of Digital Health that addresses regional unmet health and care needs, health inequalities, and digital exclusion. 

There are four themes that we will fund research on, which are grounded in evidenced health and care need in our region: 

  • Promoting Health and Nutrition for Children and Young People; 
  • Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing; 
  • Developing Digital Surgical Pathways; 
  • Living and Ageing Well with Multiple Long-term Conditions. 

The themes also map to the human lifespan in broad terms, and consider how people can be supported to live well and thrive.  

This work is being led by a team of academics who represent the six universities in the NortHFutures partnership, with support from the Hub Directors and Programme Manager, and advisory groups on Research Involvement and Patient and Public Engagement. 

Workshops to support new cross-sector research collaborations 

In Autumn 2024 we plan to hold a series of workshops to bring together people who are interested in forming research collaborations across sectors including Higher Education, Health and Care, Industry, Local Authorities and Public Sector, and Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE), and with community advocates.  

Individual, one-day workshops will be held for each research theme, and calls for participation will go out soon to invite applications by interested individuals. 

There is no need to be an expert in the theme of the workshop. Taking part would involve contributing to discussions about potential research and engagement opportunities in relation to the topic, and potentially working with other participants to develop a proposal for funding from the NortHFutures Hub (funding details to follow). The workshop setting also provides expert guidance and mentoring from NortHFutures partners. 

Benefits of Taking Part 

  • Address a real-world problem and develop ideas for real-world outcomes; 
  • Make new connections for potential research collaboration; 
  • Develop in collaborative teams a proposal for funding from NortHFutures; 
  • Benefit from peer-review to develop the quality of the proposal; 
  • Develop your research skills, in particular project development, collaboration and applying for funding. 

More information will be published soon on this website about how to take part and what taking part will involve. We will also provide details about eligibility and terms and conditions of funding awards. 

We will also advertise webinars for each theme to support information sharing about the workshop and how to get involved. 

Join our mailing list to keep up to date with these developments. 

Alternatively, please contact NortHFutures Programme Manager, Jen Wood, if you would like more information about these cross-sector research funding opportunities: Jennifer.Wood@newcastle.ac.uk.  

In the meantime, here is an overview of each of research theme, along with key dates for the workshops. 

Workshops for Funding New Research Collaborations 

Developing Digital Surgical Pathways (NF/DIGISUR) 

The proportion of the population living with comorbidities who may be referred for surgery will be more susceptible to poorer outcomes.  Digital solutions can enhance patient care, aid decision making and contribute to better surgical outcomes. These solutions, when developed with patient and public input, can also help address broader issues such as digital exclusion. Digital tools which support the delivery of the surgical pathway also need to be sustainable in terms of cost effectiveness and workforce acceptability. 

A digital surgical pathway could encompass primary care contexts, making decisions on surgery, preparing to have an operation, intraoperative care (during the operation), and different kinds of care following an operation and after being discharged home and organising follow-up appointments and patient-reported outcomes from the surgery. Research on digital surgical pathways could explore contexts such as these, as well as other topics like: patient perceptions, experiences and involvement; workforce issues; and digital inclusion. 

NF/DIGISUR Workshop Events will take place on 3 and 4 September 2024 (Venue TBC) The Theme Leads are: Tim Donovan (University of Cumbria) &  Yitka Graham (University of Sunderland). 

Living and Ageing Well with Multiple Long-term Conditions (NF/MLTC) 

One-third of the global population is estimated to be living with two or more long-term health conditions, commonly termed multimorbidity. In the UK, multimorbidity has been described as the greatest clinical challenge facing the National Health Service and social care sector. The North-East of England consistently faces challenges in this area. Despite the quality of our health and care services being rated amongst some of the best in England, the NENC still has some unsatisfactory health outcomes. 

Research on living and ageing with long-term conditions aims to support early-stage research to inform the development of effective health and care interventions. Proposals could focus on but are not limited to: Developing a deeper real-world understanding of this topic, including evidencing unmet needs; prototyping solutions for supportive systems and services; and delivering actionable outcomes or evidence-based recommendations for improving healthcare practices, social support systems and policy approaches for this relevant populations. 

NF/MTLC Workshop Events will take place on 12 and 13 September 2024 (Venue TBC). The Theme Leads are: Alan Godfrey (Northumbria University), Hubert Shum (Durham University) & Katie Brittain (Newcastle University) 

Promoting Health and Nutrition for Children & Young People (NF/CYP) 

There is an urgency to address persistent health inequalities in our region, yet health outcomes are demonstrably poorer on average than in the rest of England. Lifespans are shorter in our region, with a larger proportion of lives lived in poor health, including children and young people (CYP), and with under-resourced populations less likely to make healthy lifestyle choices. This evidence motivates research to explore how to provide for CYP to thrive and have better chances. 

Research may explore how health and nutrition patterns early in life helps to shape effective interventions. By focusing on CYP, we can improve overall population health and prevent health issues from escalating later in adulthood.

Research may also inform strategies to reduce health inequalities; by identifying vulnerable groups and addressing their specific needs, we can create a more equitable health landscape.

NF/CYP Workshop Events will take place 17 and 18 September 2024 (Venue TBC). The Theme Leads are: Niina Kolehmainen & Bernard Corfe (Newcastle University). 

Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing (NF/MH) 

Mental health and wellbeing are critical aspects of individual and community life. Supporting mental health and wellbeing contribute to a person’s quality of life, enhancing longevity, and reducing risk factors linked to physical health. Poor mental health and wellbeing have an economic cost and are linked to reduced productivity and increased engagement with health and social care services. 

Research will focus on addressing the mental health and wellbeing of individuals and communities in the NENC region, which includes some of the most deprived areas in England. Mental health became a global concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has recovered more quickly in the rest of the country compared to our region. In NENC we have relatively greater mental health challenges including anxiety and depression, proportionate to the UK population. Research may explore new opportunities for innovation that support individuals to live well and happy in the place and community that they live and work. 

NF/MH Workshop Events will take place on 2 and 3 October 2024 (Venue TBC). The Theme Leads are: Christopher Bull (Newcastle University), & John Young (Teesside University). 

For more information about these cross-sector research funding opportunities, please contact: Jennifer.Wood@newcastle.ac.uk.  

Cross-sector research opportunities team

This work is being led by Alan Godfrey (Northumbria University), John Young (Teesside University), Yitka Graham (University of Sunderland), Tim Donovan (University of Cumbria), Niina Kolehmainen (Newcastle University), and Hubert Shum (Durham University).

Supported by: Silvia Del-Din, Bernard Corfe, Katie Brittain , Chris Bull, Abigail Durrant, and Jennifer Wood (Newcastle University).

People

Abigail Durrant

Abigail Durrant

Alan Godfrey

Alan Godfrey

Bernard Corfe

Bernard Corfe

Christopher Bull

Christopher Bull

Hubert Shum

Hubert Shum

John Young

John Young

Jennifer Wood

Jennifer Wood

Katie Brittain

Katie Brittain

Niina Kolehmainen

Niina Kolehmainen

Silvia Del-Din

Silvia Del-Din

Tim Donovan

Tim Donovan

Yitka Graham

Yitka Graham