The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation's largest funder of health and care research and provides the people, facilities and technology that enables research to thrive.
NIHR Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs) undertake high quality research that enhances the ability of the UK Health Security Agency to protect the public’s health and minimise the health impact of emergencies.
The NIHR HPRU in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections at Liverpool is one of 14 HPRUs across England, part of a £58.7 million investment by the NIHR to protect the health of the nation. The NIHR HPRU in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections at Liverpool is a partnership between the UKHSA and the University of Liverpool, in collaboration with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the University of Oxford.
Each NIHR HPRU undertakes high quality research that is used by the UKHSA to keep the public safe from current and emerging public health threats.
The NIHR HPRUs focus on collaboration and knowledge sharing, and play a pivotal role in maintaining and growing the UKHSA's scientific expertise and future workforce. The multidisciplinary centres of excellence also deliver responsive research to tackle emerging or potential public health emergencies.
About the NIHR
NIHR's mission is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. The NIHR was established in 2006 and is primarily funded by the Department of Health and Social Care.
Working in partnership with the NHS, universities, local government, other research funders, patients and the public, the NIHR delivers and enables world-class research that transforms people’s lives, promotes economic growth and advances science.
About the NIHR HPRU in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections at Liverpool
UK NIHR launched a competition in 2013 to establish these new partnerships between UK Universities, and the UKHSA – Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs); the University of Liverpool, in partnership with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Public Health England, was successful in being awarded the HPRU in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections. We are delighted that the University of Oxford has joined us with the renewal of the award from April 2020.
The role of the HPRUs is to help the UK Health Security Agency in its Health Protection Role through high quality research.
The NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections at Liverpool was established in April 2014 with £4M of funding from the UK Government's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), continuing with a further £4M of funding from 1 April 2020. It supports and strengthens the UK Health Security Agency in its role protecting England from emerging infections and zoonoses (i.e. those which spread from animals to humans). It brings together internationally leading researchers from the University of Liverpool, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, The University of Oxford and Public Health England, exploiting synergy, world-class facilities, and breadth and depth in relevant research between these institutions. The Director is Professor Tom Solomon of the University, with Professors Miles Carroll of Public Health England, Professor David Lalloo of LSTM and Professor Peter Horby of University of Oxford as Co- Directors.
Specific Goals and Objectives
- Support Public Health England in its immediate tasks of understanding and mitigating currently emerging infections and zoonoses
- Examine factors involved in emergence to help predict future threats
- Maintain a 'Rapid Response Team' of core staff, skilled in epidemiological, clinical, diagnostic, health economics and modelling approaches, to readily tackle emerging requirements.
- Train a cadre of scientists in the necessary disciplines, and develop streamlined structures and systems to support them.
- Generate sufficient external funding to support the HPRU going forwards
We will initially target the following current and emerging threats, as exemplars of our multi-faceted approach: hantavirus, hepatitis E, CNS infection, and arthropod-borne diseases (Lyme, Chikungunya and Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever). We are currently responding to COVID-19. See our dedicated page here
We will achieve our objectives through four research themes:
- Patient Research for Public Health
- Diagnostics and Host Response
- Pathogen and Vector Biology
- Epidemiology and Risk Analysis
The impact of our work will be to significantly increase Public Health England's ability to tackle current and future threats, thus informing policy, enhancing decision making, strengthening services and facilitating responses.