18 February 2020 

Professor Helen Lambert from the University of Bristol and member of the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Evaluation of Interventions at the University of Bristol has been appointed a Global Health Challenge Leader by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and will join the flagship international development research scheme, the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

Helen Lambert, Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Bristol Medical School: PHS, has taken up the role GCRF Challenge Leader for Global Health. Professor Lambert has a background of research into antimicrobial resistance, HIV prevention with vulnerable communities, and the social and cultural dimensions of health systems.

Professor Lambert said: “Over the last few years I have become increasingly convinced that to deal with global health challenges, we really need to work across international boundaries and disciplines, and that’s exactly what the Global Challenges Research Fund is all about.

“The current Coronavirus outbreak highlights the need and urgency to boost international, multidisciplinary partnerships as combining on-the-ground expertise with specialist skills and knowledge are essential for understanding and tackling contemporary health challenges.”

Professor Lambert is joining the team of GCRF Challenge Leaders, who are maximising the impact of the GCRF across six portfolio areas: global health, food systems, resilience, cities and sustainable infrastructure, education and protracted conflict and refugees.

Their role is to forge diverse and exciting equitable partnerships between UK researchers and academics, policy makers and community groups across developing countries to ensure that GCRF funded research responds to the needs of poorer countries and moves the world closer towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Professor Lambert added: “I’m particularly proud that this announcement was made on the United Nations’ International Day for Women and Girls in Science. As a female social scientist working in global health, I know how crucial it is to promote gender equality in all aspects of science, research and innovation by getting more women and girls into these fields. The Global Health 50/50 initiative found that across almost 200 global health organisations, less than 30 per cent had gender parity in their senior management. Institutional change is needed at every level.”

Professor Helen Fletcher, UKRI’s Director of International Development and former GCRF Challenge Leader for Global Health, said: “We are delighted to have such a highly esteemed, experienced and dedicated researcher joining our dynamic team of Challenge Leaders to help drive forward research in global health.

“We live in an interconnected world and challenges that impact on one country, will ultimately impact on us all, no matter where we live, be it conflict resulting in a refugee crisis, natural disasters resulting in food shortages or a new virus developing into a global epidemic.

“Helen is a fantastic edition to our Challenge Leader team and will work with them to ensure research for international development makes the world fairer, safer and more sustainable for all.”

Further information 

About the NIHR HPRU in Evaluation of Interventions at the University of Bristol

The Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Evaluation of Interventions, based in Population Health Sciences at the University of Bristol, is part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and a partnership between University of Bristol and Public Health England (PHE), in collaboration with University College London, Cambridge Medical Research Council (MRC) Biostatistics Unit and University of the West of England. We are a multidisciplinary team undertaking applied research on the development and evaluation of interventions to protect the public’s health. Our aim is to support PHE in delivering its objectives and functions. Our focus is on the PHE priority area of infection. Follow us on Twitter: @HPRU_EI 

About the NIHR

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation’s largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:

  • funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care
  • engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research
  • attracts, trains and supports the best researchers to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future
  • invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services
  • partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy.

The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR supports applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries, using UK aid from the UK government.