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Peter Van Der Graaf

01642 342989
Job title:
Knowledge Exchange Broker
School of Health & Social Care
Health & Social Care research

About Peter Van Der Graaf

Peter Van Der Graaf

Peter Van Der Graaf
Knowledge Exchange Broker, School of Health & Social Care
T: 01642 342989
Research: Health & Social Care research

Peter van der Graaf is the AskFuse Research Manager and a NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Research (KMR) Fellow at Teesside University.

AskFuse is the rapid response of and evaluation service of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, which supports collaborative research projects between academics and policy and practice partners in the North East of England and beyond.

His NIHR KMR Fellowship evaluates and supports the North East System-Led Improvement approach for Best Start in Life (SLI BSIL),  led by the 12 Director of Public Health in the region to improve the commissioning of early years' services and the evidence that is used to inform these services. 

For both roles, Peter draws upon his extensive career in applying research evidence and translating knowledge from the Social Sciences and Health, both in the Netherlands and the in the UK.

Research interests

I am interested in the interface between research, practice and policy making and how this interface facilitated (or hinders) social improvement processes at local, regional, national and international levels.

I conduct research on knowledge mobilization in public health, with a focus on the wider determinants of health (e.g. housing, health landscapes, urban regeneration) and how they affect people's health and wellbeing.

Research projects & external funding

NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Research Fellowship (2017-2021) - Giving each child in the North East of England the best start in life: blending different types of knowledge to enhance local commissioning of public health services

The aim of my Fellowship is to study the use of research evidence in the commissioning of health services for young children (0-2 years old) in the North East of England. I will evaluate a new collaborative approach between academic researchers and policy makers in the region, called the System-Led Improvement approach for Best Start in Life (SLI BSIL). I will also actively support policy makers in accessing evidence from academic research and help them to blend this evidence with other sources of knowledge (such as technical expertise and practical wisdom). My temporarily embedded position as a researcher in local authority public health teams will enable me to facilitate conversations and learning between policy makers and academics.

PhD and research opportunities

I am interested in supporting research and PhDs on knowledge mobilisation in public health, looking at different types of knowledge, the processes and mechanisms through which these types are mobilised and how they help to inform policy making and service developed that improves the health and wellbeing of the population.  

External roles and professional activities

Member of the UK Implementation Society.

Trustee of the "My Sporting Chance" Community Interest Company - a charity that delivers school-based and family-focused activity programmes in County Durham to tackle childhood obesity of children aged 7-11, recruited and funded through local primary schools.

International Reviewer for the Gambling Research Exchange Ontario - BET System Impact programme.

External research collaborations

Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, operating across five universities in north-east England: Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside. Fuse is one of the five UK Public Health Research Centres of Excellence, it works hand-in-hand with the NHS, local and national government, voluntary and community sectors to help transform public health.

Fuse is one of eight academic centres of public health excellence in England making up the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Public Health Research (SPHR).

Learning and teaching interests

Peter has been guest lecturing on his experiences with AskFuse and as a Knowledge Exchange Broker on several modules including:

  • Module ‘Advanced Independent Public Health Research Project Preparation and Management’, Doctor of Public Health programme, Teesside University, 26 September 2017, with Dr. Mandy Cheetham.
  • Module ‘Qualitative approaches applied to policy and health research’, Durham University, 18 November 2016 and 11 December 2015.

Enterprise interests

Peter has been involved in two short Knowledge Transfer Projects (sKTPs) for local housing associations Fabrick Housing and NorthStar. Both sKTPs focused on transferring academic knowledge about Social Return On Investment (SROI)-methodologies to community investment programmes developed by both organisations that would enable them to better demonstrate their impact and improve their services to residents.


Van der Graaf, P., Cheetham, M., McCabe, K., Rushmer, R. (in print) Localising and tailoring published research evidence helps public health decision making. Health Information and Libraries Journal.

Van der Graaf, P., Francis, O., Doe, E., Barrett, E., O'Rorke, M., Docherty, G. Structural approaches to knowledge exchange: comparing practices across five Centres of Excellence in Public Health, Journal of Public Health, Volume 40, Issue suppl_1, 1 March 2018, Pages i31–i38,

Van der Graaf, P., Forrest, L. F., Adams, J., Shucksmith, J., & White, M. (2017). How do public health professionals view and engage with research? A qualitative interview study and stakeholder workshop engaging public health professionals and researchers. BMC public health, 17(1), 892.

Rushmer R, Cheetham M, Cox L, Crosland A, Gray J, Hughes L, Hunter D J, McCabe K, Seaman P, Tannahill C & Van Der Graaf P. Research utilisation and knowledge mobilisation in the commissioning and joint planning of public health interventions to reduce alcohol-related harms: a qualitative case design using a co-creation approach. Health Serv Deliv Res 2015;3(33)

View Peter Van Der Graaf's Publications on TeesRep