Hdrc building blocks 1

Imagine a healthy society as though we are constructing a robust building. Picture each factor or wider determinant of health as a building block - stable jobs, good pay, quality housing, good education etc. To create a society where everybody can thrive, we need to ensure all the right building blocks are in place. Currently, in many of our communities, blocks are missing and it’s time to fix this.

Coventry City Council is one of 30 local authorities across the UK that has been awarded funding to establish a Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC). The HDRC is building on Coventry’s track record of cross-sector engagement and is operating as a collaboration with the University of Warwick, Coventry University, University College London, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, the voluntary sector and local communities.

The HDRC is establishing a research infrastructure to reduce health inequalities and improve the health of Coventry residents as well as impacting nationally and internationally. By creating a dynamic and sustainable research infrastructure and working with the people of Coventry to identify their needs and priorities, we will stimulate, support and disseminate research to identify evidence-based solutions to the factors impacting people’s health.

Not only will this transform our approach to research and the impact it has on our city and residents, but ultimately support the establishment of robust approaches to tackling health inequalities in the city and improving the health of residents.

The work of the HDRC is formed across five pillars: Data and Governance, Training and Skills, Public Involvement, Evaluation, and Impact and Implementation.

Pillar 1: Data and Governance will design new and robust approaches to research that make it easier for people to conduct their own high quality research.

Pillar 2: Training and Skills will take an inclusive approach to the delivery of training for staff and Councillors at Coventry City Council, partner organisations and the local community and voluntary sector to encourage skills and confidence to find, use and in some cases, do research.

Pillar 3: Public Involvement will develop a strategy to enable the diverse communities of Coventry to be involved in all HDRC activities. We aim to ensure that through discussion their voice contributes to decisions on topics and how research is undertaken.

Pillar 4: Evaluation will help us to understand how the Coventry HDRC is working in practice, and how we can make improvements to achieve our goals.

Pillar 5: Impact & Implementation enables us to link university expertise and researchers with teams and services and across the council to identify and use good evidence-based practice from research, give advice on evaluation and research and develop new research projects and access funding.

The timeline for the project

HDRC roadmap

Year 1

  • Funding received 1 October 2022
  • Team established
  • Establishing a work platform

Year 2

  • Infrastructure being built:
    • Ethics review processes
    • Governance processes
    • Evaluation framework
    • Developing training
    • Research ambassadors
    • Communication and engagement

Year 3

  • Dissemination of existing research and funding opportunities
  • Identification of possible research questions and areas of interest

Year 4

  • Establishing an impact platform
  • Establishment of wider communities of practice in key areas
  • Utilising research fellows and research evidence to improve practice

Year 5

  • Culture change within Local Authority
  • External funding research applications

Long term

  • Evidence-driven approach to tackling wider determinants
  • Use of research evidence to improve services and address inequalities of health
  • Further development of HDRC concept/infrastructure

Meet the team

Sue FrossellSue Frossell - Director of Coventry Health Determinants Research Collaboration / Consultant in Public Health

John WilcoxJohn Wilcox - Head of Coventry Health Determinants Research Collaboration

Harmony LullyHarmony Lully- Programme Officer Coventry Health Determinants Research Collaboration

Lauren BellLauren Bell - Research Fellow - Qualitative & Mixed Methods

Jack BirchJack Birch - Research Fellow - Evidence Synthesis

Karen ThomasKaren Thomas – Programme Manager Health Protection

Jessica WeeksJessica Weeks – Public Involvement Officer

Seeman TsangSeeman Tsang – Research Governance Officer

Catherine shuttleworthCatherine Shuttleworth - Public Health Trainee

Michael ogunyemiMichael Ogunyemi - HDRC Project Assistant

Ruark Jon-StevensRuark Jon-Stevens - Communications Lead

Pillar 1 Team – Data and Governance

Dr Tim Robbins - NIHR Clinical Lecturer & CRIO – University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and Warwick Medical School

Tracy Gazeley - Clinical Research Facility Delivery - University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust

Ceri Jones - Head of R&D - University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust             

Pillar 2 Team - Training and Skills           

Grace Haynes - Head of People & Culture – Coventry City Council

Dr Maxine Whelan - Assistant Professor  - Coventry University

Pillar 3 Team - Public Involvement                    

Valerie de Souza - Consultant in Public Health – Coventry City Council

Professor Sophie Staniszewska - Patient and Public Involvement and Experiences of Care – University of Warwick

Andrea Buckley - Service Manager, Community Resilience & Engagement - Coventry City Council

Richard Grant - PPIE Rep             

Jane Whitehurst - PPIE Rep        

Pillar 4 Team - Evaluation                     

Rachel Chapman - Consultant in Public Health - Coventry City Council and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust

Beck Taylor - Clinical Associate Professor - University of Warwick

Pillar 5 Team - Impact and Implementation                          

Graeme Currie - Professor of Public Management - Warwick Business School

Jessica Allen - Deputy Director - University College London

 Voluntary Sector

 Christabell Amoakoh - CEO and Centre Manager - The Highlife Centre

Alan Markey – Chief Executive - Coventry Advice Service

Sue Ogle - Chief Executive - Voluntary Action Coventry

Clare Wightman - Chief Executive - Grapevine

Claire Stern - Director of Service Development and Impact - Central England Law Centre            

Noreen Bukhari - Health Programmes Manager - Foleshill Women's Training

James Lawerence - Client Services Director - Coventry Citizen's Advice

The HDRC Coventry is a collaboration between Coventry City Council, Coventry University, University of Warwick and a range of partners within the community and voluntary sectors, with support from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and University College London. Find out more about the collaborating organisations on our partners and collaborators page.

About NIHR

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

NIHR Health Determinants Research Collaborations enable local authorities to become more research-active, embedding a culture of evidence-based decision-making.

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. 


The NIHR Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC) Coventry is part of the NIHR and hosted by Coventry City Council.

Visit the NIHR website