UoA 2 Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care

Identifying the signs of physical abuse amongst children, reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing and helping people stop smoking has helped our world-leading research in tackling public health challenges secure a GPA of 3.11 and a UK ranking of 20th. A distinctive feature of this unit is that 63% of our research has been deemed ‘outstanding’ for its impact in terms of its reach and significance.

Quality level 4 3 2 1 UC
Overall 37.0% 39.0% 22.0% 2.0% 0.0%
Outputs 25.2% 45.7% 26.2% 2.9% 0.0%
Impact 63.3% 10.0% 26.7% 0.0% 0.0%
Environment 50.0% 50.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
About the REF

The Unit is chiefly comprised of researchers based in the Cochrane Institute of Primary Care and Public Health. Created in 2011, the Institute brings together researchers across primary care, public health, clinical medicine, and child health. 

During the assessment period, the Institute won £49M in grant and infrastructure funding and published 903 articles in peer reviewed journals. A return to REF 2014 more than double the size returned in 2008 is evidence of the Unit's growing research capacity. Our strategy centres on rigorous research that improves quality of clinical care, informs Wales and UK Government healthcare policy, and is applicable internationally. 

A reconfiguration of resources in the School of Medicine created the Institute and led to increased research efficiency and support. We have co-located the South East Wales Trials Unit (SEWTU) to increase grant income and expertise in the design and execution of large multicentre trials. Since 2008, collaboration with SEWTU has resulted in 28 grants totalling £18M. 

Key achievements include a £4.5m award as the lead institution for the MRC UK Dementias Platform (UKDP), and a £24.5M grant from the Welsh Government to establish the Wales-wide National Institute for Social Care and Health Research Clinical Research Collaboration.

Case studies

A clinical basis for identifying child abuse

A pioneering research programme for more reliable clinical assessments of child abuse and neglect.

Research programmes

The Institute has four research programmes are supported by a cross cutting platform, 'Research Methods'.

Grouping Scope
Common infections and antibiotic resistance To improve understanding of the epidemiology, diagnosis, decision making, treatment and prevention of common infections.
Healthcare communication and Quality To improve health and health care through a programme of multidisciplinary research to understand and change the behaviour of the population, patients and clinicians.
Early Years To improve the health and wellbeing of children through a programme of multidisciplinary research that spans the epidemiology and determinants of child health and well-being, child protection, and development and testing of complex interventions to improve child health and wellbeing.
Healthy Ageing To promote the mental and physical health, well-being and welfare of older people through the conduct of high quality multi-disciplinary research.

Centres and Groups

Research groupDetails
Wales School of Primary Care Research (WSPCR)A Welsh Government collaboration between the disciplines of general practice, pharmacy, optometry, nursing and dentistry, based at the Cochrane Institute. Since 2008, the WSPCR has contributed to winning £10.9M in research income (WSPCR led) and to 92 peer reviewed research papers.
Public Health Improvement Research Network (PHIRN)PHIRN aims to increase the quantity and quality of public health improvement research that is relevant to policy and practice. During the assessment period, PHIRN have supported 44 projects with a total value of £16,511,684.
Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality Research Group (PSHQRG)PSHQRG aims to realise the potential of Welsh quality and safety policy and healthcare improvement initiatives through a programme of empirical research, to enhance the evidence-base to inform future activity in Wales, the UK, and internationally. PSHQRG has a research portfolio of 21 research studies, totalling £3.4M since its inception in 2010.
Epidemiology & Screening Research Unit (Epi-Screen)Epi-Screen is a pan Wales epidemiology and screening research group that aims to build on existing academic partnerships, utilise electronic data-linkage and exploit new methods for collection of health
and environment data. Since 2010, Epi-Screen has accumulated a portfolio of 23 research
studies (research income £9.9M) and published 80 peer-reviewed research papers.

Overall ranking

Pos. Institution GPA
1University of Oxford3.48
2Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine3.46
3University of Cambridge3.41

17University of Leicester3.14
18University of Leeds3.12
18University of Birmingham3.12
20Cardiff University3.11
21University of Exeter3.09
22University of East Anglia3.07
23University of Liverpool3.04

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