PIHR Strategic Priorities Fund Projects

In 2020/21 PIHR was awarded £20,000 through Research England’s QR Strategic Priorities Fund to support projects which would develop engagement between academics and policy-makers and strengthen the impact of research on policy-making. Following a call amongst our academics, the fund was used to support four projects ranging from primary research through to research communication and to training and support on policy impact for Early Career Researchers. Read more about these projects below: 

Supporting Dementia Friendly Flying

Air travel can pose major challenges for people living with dementia and their companions, and airlines are not always well prepared to meet their specific needs, but increasing dementia awareness amongst both the travel industry and relevant policy-makers can help address these issues. 

Researchers in the University’s Faculty of Health - Katherine Turner, Dr Alison Warren and Ian Sherriff BEM - have been developing new and innovative ways of communicating research findings and customer feedback to policy-makers and airline companies, with a view to improving the experiences of passengers with dementia and their companions. Click here to read the full case study. 


South West Rare Disease Policy Group

Rare diseases affect around 30 million people living in Europe and in excess of 4 million people in the UK.  As many as 7,500 conditions exist, 80% of which are genetic, so special combined efforts are needed to address them, 

This project, led by Dr Konstantin Glebov, sought to address a gap in current policy when it comes to meeting the needs of people with rare diseases, especially in the South West. The funding was used to set-up a website which provides an online platform for exchange among patients, researchers, clinicians and local/national policymakers on rare diseases.

Since the project started it has engaged with the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Doctors' Association UK, as well as many regional stakeholders, while the website has secured involvement from people as far away as the East Midlands and France. Click here to read more information


Standing Frames for People with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) around the UK

The aim of this project was to undertake research and engagement with NHS practitioners and policy-makers around the use of standing frames to help people with severe progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). Previous University of Plymouth research, funded by the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit programme, has demonstrated that standing frames have significant clinical benefits and were feasible to implement within an NHS context. In light of these findings, this project, led by Professor Jennifer Freeman, Dr Wendy Clyne and Dr Wendy Hendrie, sought to gather feedback on the current practice of using standing frames in the NHS, by engaging with policy-makers, commissioners and practitioners. 

A total of 41 interviews were undertaken with a diverse range of participants including Procurement Managers, MS Charities, Suppliers, Equipment Managers, Nurses and Clinicians. The final report includes a summary of the key facilitators and barriers to the use of standing frames for MS, as well as a set of recommendations for implementation. These range from policy proposals (e.g. making the use of standing frames a NICE recommendation) to practical ‘on the ground’ measures (e.g. keeping frames in store as stock items).



Policy Engagement Workshops and Support for ECRs

The ECR Forum for Health organised a programme of policy engagement training and support for Early Career Researchers and other academics in the University’s Faculty of Health to help them to engage with policy-makers and maximise their impact. This included workshops, delivered by experienced consultants on ‘Understanding policy and introduction to policy brief writing for ECRs’; a ‘Policy Impact Masterclass’ and one-to-one policy impact surgeries. Links to some of the workshop resources are below but please note you will need a UoP login to access some of this content.