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.

The PHIRST scheme links up academic teams with local government organisations to evaluate public health interventions that are already happening across the UK. There are currently 8 PHIRSTs across the UK, with expertise in public health and evaluation methods. Scroll down for information on our teams.

Commissioned in 2020, PHIRST was conceived as a way for local government public health teams to access timely and robust evaluations of their schemes. Find out more about the thinking behind PHIRST's creation in this NIHR blog by Helen Walters, NIHR Public Health Consultant Advisor.

We apply a broad definition of public health and welcome proposals from any relevant area. You can browse the range of schemes we have evaluated on our Evaluations page. We work to mobilise the knowledge from our projects to add to the wider public health evidence base. We undertake post-evaluation reviews to explore how recommendations are being taken forward and what impact the evaluation has had. Find out more about how we work on our Health and Care Professionals page.

You can read about PHIRST news and updates in our newsletter:


We have presented sessions on knowledge mobilisation, building research capacity, public partnerships and evaluations linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. You can read descriptions of the sessions on our seminar page or watch the recordings on our YouTube Channel.

Watch the latest session: Creating a lasting legacy through evaluation. In this seminar we discusses evaluations where PHIRST teams have developed tools and / or procedures as part of their evaluation that have continued to be used by local teams for long-term benefit and impact. Members of the PHIRST Light Public Advisory Group also shared the impact of patient and public involvement in PHIRST evaluations and their aspirations for the group's legacy. View the seminar slides.


The NIHR Public Health Research Programme has appointed six academic teams, via the PHIRST scheme. The teams are ready to work with local authorities to co-produce research on the public health impacts of initiatives. The academic teams are fully funded to co-design and undertake robust research in partnership with local authorities

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