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The Local Authority Champions of Research (LACoR) study, funded by the Health Foundation, explored how to embed a culture of research in local government (LG) to improve population health. The findings were translated into a logic model illustrating what helps and hinders evidence use in decision-making.

The LACoR proof of concept study was undertaken in collaboration between Fuse, Queen’s University Belfast and University of Southampton and four local authorities (Newcastle, Belfast and, Southampton Cities and Hampshire County Councils). We used a mixed methods approach including a rapid literature review, online scoping survey, 5 facilitated workshops, 14 interviews with LG staff in one local authority and social network analysis to explore factors influencing cultures of research and evidence use in local government.

The results of this study were published in The Lancet (Cheetham et al, 2019), and presented orally at The Lancet’s prestigious Public Health Science Conference in London in November 2019. In addition, a storyboard presentation of the study was presented at the 2019 Global Implementation conference. The findings were also presented recently at a Fuse QRM, with a dedicated Fuse brief, to inform the development of a full UKPRP Stage 2 application.

Mandy Cheetham, ENABLE Consortium member, has gained substantial experience of embedded research in public health since 2015 whilst working alongside colleagues in Gateshead Council (initially as Fuse PDRA). She co-authored five papers in this role including on ER, and most recently on the impact of Universal Credit. 

Expertise in Embedded Research was central to the LACoR project. Mandy continues to mentor an embedded research post in Well Newcastle Gateshead, and members of the LACoR research team have all actively contributed to the UKPRP ENABLE application. Researchers on the LACoR project also contributed to a NIHR study on embedded research in NHS settings led by Martin Marshall at UCL, contributing to a design framework for embedded research.

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