NIHR sustainability pledges

NIHR launches new sustainability pledges

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has launched a new series of climate change and sustainability commitments for health and social care research.

To develop a resilient healthcare system, the NIHR wants to:

  • Reduce the environmental impact of central NIHR operations
  • Fund new research into climate, health and environmental sustainability
  • Publish and share research findings to maximise benefit
  • Build capacity around climate, health and sustainability within the research community

There are also aims to build research capability through the NIHR Academy, and for the researchers who are experienced in this subject area to pass their knowledge down to those who are newer to the sector through ‘matchmaking’.

“We need to start recognising the vital intersection of health and climate…”

The NIHR will first look to understand its current emissions, with actions plans to minimise waste generation and water usage both expected.

It will also look to publish research findings in the NIHR Journals Library and NIHR Evidence to inform policymakers and health and care professionals.

Head of sustainability at the NIHR, Dr Sophia Lentzos, said: “There is a significant need to accelerate our knowledge and expertise across health and social care research.

“We need to start recognising the vital intersection of health and climate and start prioritising health at the heart of climate change knowledge and decision-making.”

Research will be further supported through a new £25m funding call that is set to open in November 2024 to coincide with COP29.

The call, open to applications of up to £5m, will be the first in a series of annual investment pots over the next four years.

“We urge the research community to seize this opportunity…”

Before the funding call launches, a support package will be available to researchers which will include workshops and webinars.

Through the £25m investment, the NIHR wants to close the knowledge gaps and cut the impact of the wider system on the environment.

NHS England’s acting chief sustainability officer, Chris Gormley, said: “The NHS remains at the forefront of reducing the environmental impact of healthcare and research has a vital role to play in helping the health service fulfil its commitment and supporting the implementation needed, at scale and at pace.”

He continued: “We urge the research community to seize this opportunity to contribute to our journey towards sustainability, and extend our gratitude to NIHR for their crucial support in advancing this important work – together, let's strive towards a healthier and greener future for all.”

Image credit: iStock

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