What are we trying to do?
The purpose of the document is to propose a pan National Insititue of Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) workforce focused mental health and well-being research framework. The aim is for the research framework to serve as a reference point to:
- Create coherence and comparability across the research carried out by NIHR ARCs
- Reduce duplication of work to reduce workforce burden.
Adopting a coherent approach with an agreed purpose and broad aims will maximise the potential for cross-ARC collaboration, synergy and impact.
While the focus of this research has a COVID-19 focus, the ambition is that this framework should facilitate research beyond the current pandemic, ensuring programme sustainability and longevity across the lifetime of this 5-year NIHR ARC funding cycle.
This framework is not intended to be prescriptive, rather, it is a call to colleagues doing research under the NIHR ARC umbrella to use the framework as a point of reference in the development of research projects and programmes. It is a modular approach which allows flexibility to fit the scientific questions and data collection to the needs of the specific workforce and context being studied.
Why is it important?
The NIHR has invested £135 million to support 15 collaboratives covering every region within England. The NIHR ARC collaborative provides a framework within which key stakeholders are brought together locally and nationally with a mandate to tackle difficult issues facing our health and care system including: patient outcomes, effectiveness of our health and care system, system sustainability, and carrying out research with an applied focus to facilitate the rapid translation of research into practice. Moreover, the designation of ARC South London and ARC East of England as national leads for mental health and the establishment of a National Mental Health Priorities Network provides a further opportunity for effective collaboration.
The NIHR ARC network presents a unique opportunity to develop a coherent and consistent approach to workforce mental health and well-being research which embodies these principles.
What will we do?
The framework is available for any NIHR ARC to review and align with, to guide the development of work that aligns to the fundamental principles of the NIHR ARC programme.
Who are we working with?
The NIHR ARCs and their research themes are set out in a table included in the document. In line with the framework, colleagues are encouraged to work collaboratively to maximise synergy, impact, and reduce duplication and burden.
The origins of this framework arose out of conversation with colleagues from across NIHR ARC sites between April 2020-June 2020.
The framework has been developed by:
- Kirsten Windfuhr (ARC Greater Manchester),
- Jane Ball (ARC Wessex),
- Karina Lovell (ARC Greater Manchester)
- Penny Bee (ARC Greater Manchester).
Additional contributions and comments were gratefully received from ARC colleagues, and in particular Kristy Sanderson (ARC East of England).
For further information about this work, please contact Alison Littlewood (Programme Manager).