Two logos of University of Cumbria and Cumberland Council side by side

Recruitment launched to lead exciting £4.8m health research project

Work has begun to appoint the first roles to an exciting £4.8m scheme that will create a centre of excellence in research into local health-related issues affecting people in north and west Cumbria. 

Cumberland Council is receiving the funding invested by National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to set up its new NIHR Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC).

There is a network of NIHR HDRCs across the nation. They enable local authorities to become more research-active, embedding a culture of evidence-based decision making in their activities.    

The NIHR Cumberland HDRC went live on 1 January 2024 with University of Cumbria as Cumberland Council’s primary academic partner.

The money will go towards the creation of a new research team which will work with partners in the voluntary sector. Its work will largely focus on some of the more deprived local communities across the new local authority area. The first roles are a Research and Innovation Manager who will lead the scheme, supported by two research officers.

Embedded in the council, the team will be closely associated with University of Cumbria’s Institute of Health, which has a long-standing reputation for the education of allied health professionals and research including tackling health inequalities.

By boosting research, NIHR HDRC partners will gain a better understanding of the health issues and inequalities in the area so that the council and decision-makers can develop strategies on how best to tackle them to improve the health and wellbeing of its residents.  

Boosting research capacity in coastal and rural communities is a key part of NIHR’s work with under-served communities and was highlighted in a recent Chief Medical Officer’s report.   

Professor Brian Webster-Henderson-3

Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the university, said: “We hold shared ambitions with Cumberland Council of addressing some of the unique challenges and health inequalities that face our region.

“Along with our established work in education of future and current health care professionals and our establishment of the Pears Cumbria School of Medicine with Imperial College London, this new NIHR collaboration will allow our university academics, researchers and council teams to build upon and expand their current expertise and excellence. Through the real-world research they will do in and for our communities, together we will gain a much better understanding of the health issues across the area - important research which will shape and improve lives for generations to come.”

Councillor Lisa Brown, deputy leader of Cumberland Council with responsibility for Adults and Community Health, said: "This is a really exciting time for the council as we embark on this evidence-led approach to tackling many of the health issues in our area.

“As a new council we have put tackling health inequalities central to what we do and we now have a real opportunity working with our partners such as the University of Cumbria, to think differently and help shape our communities for the better. Therefore, I'd encourage anyone with an interest in these posts to find out more and apply and be part of this exciting new project." 

The closing date for applications to these first three leading roles is 26 March 2024.

Full information about the NIHR Cumberland HDRC and the newly-created roles available can be found at


Notes to editors

About Cumberland Council

Cumberland Council is a unitary council in Cumbria.  

On 1 April 2023 we took over the responsibility for all council services previously provided by Allerdale Borough Council, Carlisle City Council, Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council. 

 We want to put health and wellbeing at the heart of everything we do. Find out about our vision and values at  

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The NIHR funds, enables and delivers world-leading health and social care research that improves people's health and wellbeing and promotes economic growth. 

The NIHR has awarded £150 million to 30 HDRCs across the UK, to provide the capacity and capability for local authorities to undertake public health research to address the wider determinants of health and health inequalities. 

About NIHR 

The mission of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. We do this by: 

  • Funding high quality, timely research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care; 
  • Investing in world-class expertise, facilities and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services; 
  • Partnering with patients, service users, carers and communities, improving the relevance, quality and impact of our research; 
  • Attracting, training and supporting the best researchers to tackle complex health and social care challenges; 
  • Collaborating with other public funders, charities and industry to help shape a cohesive and globally competitive research system; 
  • Funding applied global health research and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle income countries. 

NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. Its work in low and middle income countries is principally funded through UK Aid from the UK government.