The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation's largest funder of health and care research and provides the people, facilities and technology that enables research to thrive. 

NIHR Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs) undertake high quality research that enhances the ability of Public Health England (PHE) to use innovative techniques to protect the public’s health and minimise the health impact of emergencies. 

The NIHR HPRU in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at University of Bristol is one of 14 HPRUs across England, part of a £58.7 million investment by the NIHR to protect the health of the nation. The NIHR HPRU in Behavioural Science and Evaluation is a partnership between PHE and University of Bristol, in collaboration with MRC Biostatistics Research Unit at the University of Cambridge and University of the West of England.

About HPRUs

Each NIHR HPRU undertakes high quality research that is used by PHE to keep the public safe from current and emerging public health threats.

The NIHR HPRUs focus on collaboration and knowledge sharing, and play a pivotal role in maintaining and growing PHE’s scientific expertise and future workforce. The multidisciplinary centres of excellence also deliver responsive research to tackle emerging or potential public health emergencies.

About the NIHR

NIHR's mission is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. The NIHR was established in 2006 and is primarily funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. 

Working in partnership with the NHS, universities, local government, other research funders, patients and the public, the NIHR delivers and enables world-class research that transforms people’s lives, promotes economic growth and advances science.

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: Intervention development: understanding risk and behaviour; Evidence synthesis; Evaluation: clinical and economic evidence; and Implementation. 

People and partners

The HPRU Directors are Professor Matthew Hickman from Population Health Sciences at the University of Bristol, Professor Isabel Oliver, Director of Field Epidemiology, Public Health England and Dr Richard Amlôt, Head of Behavioural Science, Emergency Response Department, Public Health England.

Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPI) is led by Dr Andy Gibson and Dr Noreen Hopewell-Kelly at the University of the West of England in partnership with NIHR ARC 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:

Panel of images showing members of the HPRU team at conferences and events