NIHR ARC NWL secures proportion of £1.6m funding from NHS England’s ICS REND Programme 

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) Northwest London’s (NWL) Ethnicity Health Unit has successfully secured funding from NHS England’s newly launched Integrated Care Systems (ICS) Research Engagement Network Development (REND) Programme.

NHS England’s Innovation, Research and Life Sciences team launched the programme to support ICSs to increase diversity in research participation through the development of new or existing research networks and activity.

The ICS REND Programme have awarded £1.6M across 17 network teams to address the need to facilitate and promote research, use research evidence, and involve diverse communities in the development of health care provision. People from ethnic minority backgrounds are, however, routinely under-represented in health research, potentially resulting in people missing out on its important benefits. Consequently, there is a pressing need to involve people from ethnic minority backgrounds in research. 

NIHR ARC NWL, in partnership with the local voluntary sector and research organisations, aims to increase the diversity of people participating in research in NWL. Working with several partners, the project will deliver 10 - 15 health roadshows in partnership with local Primary Care Networks, delivering key health and wellbeing support and checks. In addition, we will train 10 – 20 Community Research Champions from the local community, who will engage, support and work with people attending the roadshows.  The Community Research Champions will be trained in supporting the health needs of the community, evaluation, and quality improvement methods. 

Finally, we will create a Partnership Forum for the London Boroughs of Brent and Hounslow, creating a research network reflecting the local communities’ needs and challenges.  The Forum will oversee the project and build trust with local communities, enabling discussions on research hesitancy.  In doing all this, we seek to develop more significant, acceptable community-based research opportunities and solid partnerships between local communities, health and social care and research sectors.  Forming the foundations for sustained partnerships in future, will facilitate a meaningful dialogue between all partners, enabling greater ethnic minority participation in research.