NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Modelling and Health Economics at Imperial College London logo

Developing novel analytical and computational tools to improve public health

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) funds, enables and delivers world-leading health and social care research that improves people's health and wellbeing and promotes economic growth.

NIHR Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs) undertake high quality research that enhances the ability of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to protect the public’s health and minimise the health impact of emergencies.

The NIHR HPRU Modelling and Health Economics Unit 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 Modelling and Health Economics Unit is a partnership between UKHSA and Imperial College London, in collaboration with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

About HPRUs

Each NIHR HPRU undertakes high quality research that is used by UKHSA 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 UKHSA’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.

Established in April 2020, the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Modelling and Health Economics is led by Professor Neil Ferguson and has a core mission to develop novel analytical and computational tools to improve public health.

Protecting the public’s health from infectious diseases requires timely and reliable evidence with which to make decisions. The NIHR HPRU in Modelling and Health Economics focuses on the exploitation of new data streams enabled by technological and data revolutions, such as the digital capture and linkage of ever larger volumes of health and social data and the routine genetic sequencing of pathogens.

The HPRU in Modelling and Health Economics synergistically combines the complementary strengths of the three largest and most diverse teams of infectious disease modellers in the UK.

The partnership brings UKHSA's Colindale and Porton teams together with the Departments of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College and LSHTM across four research themes, to deliver a step change in research capacity available for health protection modelling.

Management and governance

The Unit is guided by a management group which consists of the Unit Director, the UKHSA lead, the HPRU Manager, and theme leads from Imperial College, LSHTM, and UKHSA. This group is in turn advised by an Independent Advisory Board.

The HPRU Manager acts as a pivot between all primary stakeholder organisations and is responsible for both managing contributions to existing activity and the planning of new activity within and between them. This also includes leading on Patient and Public Engagement activities. Patient and Public involvement activities are led by the PPI Officer.