The Community and Health Research Unit (CaHRU) is the research centre for the School of Health and Social Care, in the College of Social Science at the University of Lincoln. The centre is directed by Professor Niro Siriwardena and staffed by 17 core researchers. This includes two professors (Prof Niro Siriwardena – primary/prehospital care, Prof Graham Law – medical statistics), associate professor (Dr Zahid Asghar – statistics), acting associate professor (Dr Stephanie Armstrong – qualitative), senior research fellow (Dr Murray Smith – health economics and econometrics), and senior research associate (Dr Coral Sirdifield – mixed methods), six postdoctoral research associates (Dr Vanessa Botan – medical statistics, Dr Gupteswar Patel,  Dr Julie Pattinson and Dr Joseph Akanuwe – qualitative methods, Dr Tom Parkhouse – mixed methods, and Dr Mehrshad Parvin Hosseini – health economics and econometrics), two research assistants (Dr Viet-Hai Phung – mixed methods, Despina Laparidou – systematic reviews and qualitative methods) a clinical database manager (Dr Elise Rowan), clinical trial coordinator (Priya Sharma) and our administrator (Sue Bowler), together with a number of visiting and international visiting fellows, associate staff and doctoral students. We also host the Healthier Ageing Patient and Public Involvement (HAPPI) group, established in 2014 and initially funded by the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network.

CaHRU’s mission is to enhance people’s health and well-being and reduce inequalities, addressing these two UN Sustainable Development Goals by improving the quality, performance and systems of care across the health, social and third sector care services through our world-leading interdisciplinary research with service users and health service professionals and organisations. We work closely with our Healthier Ageing Patient and Public Involvement (HAPPI) group which provides invaluable PPI for the development of new studies and supports existing studies.

Our objectives are:

  • to conduct interdisciplinary research in which we collaborate with others, to challenge current models of care and transform services, promote high quality care and enhance the experience, safety, effectiveness, efficiency and equity of healthcare;
  • to  positively and synergistically collaborate and engage with service users, carers, practitioners, managers, commissioners and policymakers in our research and to collaborate with academic and health service partners regionally, nationally and internationally;
  • to maximise the impact of our research by responding to service priorities, working with service users and care organisations to embed research into practice and disseminate findings using the notion of ‘dissemination by design’ and through a variety of media to make a difference to people’s health and well-being, helping to transform health and social care services and systems from global to local and from local to global – locally, regionally and nationally in the UK and also internationally through world leading research;
  • to support the development of our postgraduate research students and to enable and challenge our researchers to achieve their highest potential, supporting career progression and advancement, through a research environment that encourages cooperation, collaboration and mutual support.

We are a multidisciplinary centre with expertise in a range of methods including clinical trials, systematic reviews, observational studies, mixed methods and qualitative designs for research, evaluation and implementation. Our work focusses on translational, empirical and operational research relating to quality improvement in health and social care. Our primary areas of activity fit with university research themes of health and wellbeing, and communities. We also have activity that covers university themes of rurality, digitalisation, and heritage, with four cross-cutting approaches of co-creation, interdisciplinarity, creativity and the 21st century lab.

Our local to global perspective includes Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership priorities of service innovation and redesign, ageing and inclusion, automation, digitisation and 5 of the 6 university themes including health and wellbeing, rurality, digitalisation, communities and heritage, and 4 cross-cutting approaches of co-creation, interdisciplinarity, creativity and the 21st century lab. We benefit from working closely with the Lincoln International Institute for Rural Health, and with colleagues from a range of disciplines in other academic groups, universities and health services.

Our six main programmes areas of work are:

We have received or are receiving funding from UK Research and Innovation through the National Institute for Health Research and research councils (Medical Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council), and also through the European Commission, major research charities (Health Foundation, British Heart Foundation, Wellcome Trust, Heritage England), and regional bodies (East Midlands NIHR Applied Research Collaboration and East Midlands Academic Health Science Network).