A coalition of funders has awarded a total of £20 million (€26.8 million) under the umbrella of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) to five new Centres of Excellence, set up to conduct research on a broad range of public health issues such as health inequalities, obesity, exercise, smoking, alcohol and drugs.

Each centre will receive £5 million over five years to create new academic posts and develop training and career development programmes. The funding will also provide the technical staff, information technology systems, equipment, administrative support, facilities and other infrastructure needed to support high-quality research, the UKCRC said.

The centres bring together experts from a variety of disciplines, who will work in partnership with practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders to tackle public health issues likely to have a significant impact on the health of the nation.

The five centres awarded the funding through a competitive process were:

- The Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, led by Newcastle University in collaboration with Durham, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teeside Universities.
- The Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement, led by Cardiff University in collaboration with Swansea University and Bristol University.
- The UKCRC Northern Ireland Centre of Excellence for Public Health Research, led by Queens University Belfast in partnership with the Institute of Public Health in Ireland.
- The Diet and Physical Activity Public Health Research Centre, Cambridge, led by the University of Cambridge.

- The UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, University of Nottingham. This is a strategic partnership between seven of the UK’s leading tobacco control and policy research groups at Nottingham, Bath, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Stirling Universities as well as Queen Mary, University of London and University College London.

The partners who came together to provide the £20 million investment for the Centres of Excellence were the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Health and Social Care Research and Development Office for Northern Ireland, the Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, the Wales Office of Research and Development (Welsh Assembly Government) and the Wellcome Trust.