Fourth NIHR SPHR Annual Scientific Meeting: Knowledge into Practice – 10 March 2016, Newcastle

On 10 March 2016 the NIHR School for Public Health Research gathered at The Centre for Life in Newcastle for their fourth Annual Scientific Meeting. The School’s academic researchers were joined by invited guests from across the public health system for a day of presentations, workshops and debates on how best to translate the knowledge and evidence generated by the School’s research into practice, and to reflect on the future priorities for public health research.

The event was attended by over 130 members of NIHR SPHR who came together to network, share ideas and take part in lively discussions about the future of public health research. Commenting on the event, Professor Jon Nicholl, Director of NIHR SPHR, said “Today it has been fantastic to see the volume and quality of research that has been carried out by our members. The NIHR School for Public Health Research is committed to building a robust evidence base for public health research and it is heartening to hear the commitment and enthusiasm to meeting the challenges in public health research over the School’s next five years”.

This year’s meeting was hosted by Fuse and Professor Ashley Adamson, Director of Fuse, opened the event by welcoming NIHR SPHR members. Professor Jon Nicoll, Director of NIHR SPHR, then introduced the themes and objectives for the meeting.

The day took the format of parallel presentations on the theme of ‘Taking Stock – what has the NIHR SPHR achieved so far?’ NIHR SPHR researchers presented completed research projects on:

• Environmental interventions
• Young people
• Translation to practice
• Inequalities
• Alcohol
• Mentoring and modelling

These were followed by presentations and discussions on completed projects from the School’s Public Health Practice Evaluation Scheme (PHPES) chaired by Professor Jennie Popay (LiLaC).
Our panel, Bernie Hannigan (Public Health England), Dominic Harrison (Blackburn with Darwen Council) and Helen Walters (GLA) took part in an informative and thought-provoking discussion on building the evidence base to address local and national public health priorities and the challenges ahead.

After lunch NIHR SPHR researchers facilitated parallel workshop sessions on:

• Theory in public health interventions
• Career development in early and mid-career researchers
• Knowledge exchange – making a difference?
• Big data and methodological challenges for public health
• Guidance to evaluation in public health
• Impact strategy for NIHR SPHR

This was followed by a discussion ‘Direction of travel taking the NIHR SPHR into the future’ about the future priorities for public health in the current political and economic context chaired by Professor Mark Petticrew (LSHTM) This included an exciting 10 minute soapbox session which stimulated open discussion and sharing of thoughts.

Professor David Hunter (Durham University) chaired a final panel session reflecting on the day and highlighting challenges and opportunities for the School’s next five years.
The event was closed by Professor Jon Nicholl who thanked everyone for attending and contributing their ideas.

The event was live tweeted and a Storify has been created to capture activity from the day: sfy.co/u4Se