The SIPHER Consortium : Introducing the new UK hub for systems science in public health and health economic research

Meier, Petra and Purshouse, Robin and Bain, Marion and Bambra, Clare and Bentall, Richard and Birkin, Mark and Brazier, John and Brennan, Alan and Bryan, Mark and Cox, Julian and Fell, Greg and Goyder, Elizabeth and Heppenstall, Alison and Holmes, John and Hughes, Ceri and Ishaq, Asif and Kadirkamanathan, Visakan and Lomax, Nik and Lupton, Ruth and Paisley, Suzy and Smith, Katherine and Stewart, Ellen and Strong, Mark and Such, Elizabeth and Tsuchiya, Aki and Watkins, Craig (2019) The SIPHER Consortium : Introducing the new UK hub for systems science in public health and health economic research. Wellcome Open Research, 4. 174. ISSN 2398-502X (

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The conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age are key drivers of health and inequalities in life chances. To maximise health and wellbeing across the whole population, we need well-coordinated action across government sectors, in areas including economic, education, welfare, labour market and housing policy. Current research struggles to offer effective decision support on the cross-sector strategic alignment of policies, and to generate evidence that gives budget holders the confidence to change the way major investment decisions are made. This open letter introduces a new research initiative in this space. The SIPHER ( Systems Science in Public Health and Health Economics Research) Consortium brings together a multi-disciplinary group of scientists from across six universities, three government partners at local, regional and national level, and ten practice partner organisations. The Consortium's vision is a shift from health policy to healthy public policy, where the wellbeing impacts of policies are a core consideration across government sectors. Researchers and policy makers will jointly tackle fundamental questions about: a) the complex causal relationships between upstream policies and wellbeing, economic and equality outcomes; b) the multi-sectoral appraisal of costs and benefits of alternative investment options; c) public values and preferences for different outcomes, and how necessary trade-offs can be negotiated; and d) creating the conditions for intelligence-led adaptive policy design that maximises progress against economic, social and health goals. Whilst our methods will be adaptable across policy topics and jurisdictions, we will initially focus on four policy areas: Inclusive Economic Growth, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Mental Wellbeing and Housing.