NIHR ARC South West Peninsula (PenARC)

What is PenARC?

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 Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local populations and local health and care systems.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) South West Peninsula - or PenARC is one of 15 ARCs across England, part of a £135 million investment by the NIHR to improve the health and care of patients and the public. We are a partnership of NHS Trusts and Local Authorities across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, plus the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth. We undertake high-quality applied health research focused on the needs of patients and support the translation of research evidence into practice in the NHS.

PenARC has three key objectives:

  • to increase the volume and quality of patient-focused research in the South West
  • to improve health outcomes by more effective use of evidence to drive health services
  • to increase capacity within the health economy to use and generate evidence.

Our model of partnership, working across the whole research and practice continuum, aims to address both the much discussed research-into-practice gap and the equally important practice-into-research gap.

PenARC directly funds a number of staff and PhD students, primarily across sites in Exeter and Plymouth. PenARC research falls under five main themes, each with its own academic lead. Details of current and completed projects can be found on the Research and Projects pages.

PenARC is represented in the Faculty of Health by Deputy Director Professor Richard Byng and a team of research fellows and support staff. Professor Byng is also a GP and Professor in Primary Care within the Centre for Clinical Trials and Population Studies.

Research Themes and Leads


The ARCs also work together on a number of national leadership areas, led by specific ARCs. PenARC are leading in the area of child and maternal health.