Skip to main content

Area to become ‘international beacon’ in tackling health inequalities

31 October 2022


A Teesside University academic is leading research with local authorities as part of plans to tackle health inequalities.

Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland councils will each receive a share of £50m from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), with the aim of becoming an international beacon in tackling health inequalities. The NIHR Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC) South Tees will be one of 13 established around the country.

It will establish new ways of working and improve the understanding of long-term factors which affect people’s chances to lead healthy lives by working collaboratively across the region to develop a culture of research and knowledge.

The councils will lead the work in co-production with Teesside University. South Tees Joint Director of Public Health Mark Adams is the lead for the councils, alongside Professor Dorothy Newbury-Birch for Teesside University.

Professor Newbury-Birch, from the University’s School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law, said: “Teesside University has significant expertise in examining a wide range of issues and topics which can impact and improve health inequalities.

“We have successfully worked with our local authorities on a number of collaborative projects which have had a hugely positive impact on our communities.

“I am delighted that this work gives us the opportunity to carry on and extend the evidence-based research we currently do and am looking forward to working in co-production with the councils, communities and other agencies.”

The funding will be invested over the next six years to allow the councils and the university to make decisions backed by research to ensure services can have the best possible impact – helping to address any health inequalities and social issues in the Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland areas.

The programme will be developed in the first year of funding before the project is fully launched in October 2023.

Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Teesside University Professor Paul Croney, OBE, said: “Teesside University has a mission to transform lives and economies and this commitment is embedded throughout our research and innovation activity.

We have successfully worked with our local authorities on a number of collaborative projects which have had a hugely positive impact on our communities

Professor Newbury-Birch

“Working in partnership is key to realising this ambition. We are delighted to be involved with this project which will ensure the expertise at Teesside University powers further collaboration, delivers positive impact for our communities and makes a substantial difference to public health activity regionally, nationally and internationally.”

Mark Adams said: “It’s vital our decisions have a meaningful, positive impact on the communities we serve.

“This is particularly important in areas like Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland where parts of our populations rely on local authorities much more than people in other areas of the country. The legacy of our industrial past and the impacts of poverty and health inequalities mean we simply must get things right.

“This research funding will help ensure as many people as possible can be supported to play a part in a prosperous future by working collaboratively with communities and partners including Teesside University.”

Cllr David Coupe, Executive Member with responsibility for public health at Middlesbrough Council, said: “The work that went into this funding bid has shown that by using more evidence our staff will be in a better position to work with our residents and partners to use research to improve the quality of life for our communities.”

Cllr Steve Kay, Cabinet Member for Health and Welfare at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “We know the challenges residents across our communities face in living healthy lives and this funding will enable us to work even closer with the people who rely on our support.

“The outcome of the research will hopefully allow them to overcome these challenges and live long, healthy and independent lives.”