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Introduction from Professor Mark Gabbay
Director of ARC NWC


Welcome to our inaugural ARC NWC Newsletter. I am writing to firstly thank those who could attend our very first ARCFEST day in Blackpool last month. 

These quarterly days are a real opportunity to collaborate, bring new ideas and contribute to the progress of our themes and their research projects.

I understand that some themes made more progress than others did, however, there will be additional meetings in between these quarterly days to enable work to continue in earnest and focus on keeping ideas and research developing. The frequency and timings of these are currently being decided by themes and we will be keeping you updated via both email and our website as this information is decided.   

Several of our themes have a wide brief and it will take time to identify the focus on subjects and methods of prioritisation. We are currently preparing an online survey for our members to assist us in prioritising the initial ideas submitted to date and results will feed into individual theme agendas at our second ARCFEST day.  This will be in Liverpool on 27 February 2020. More details to follow in New Year with an agenda and a link to register.

On this day, we will also be encouraging any representative from our members, public or stakeholders to pitch their ideas to all and then collaborate to investigate the feasibility and practicality of such ideas with theme staff.  This will be in addition to regular theme meetings, which will also be split over the day to enable attendees to select two theme meetings to attend, based on feedback we received from Blackpool. 

I am also very keen to see the legacy of our work in CLAHRC NWC built upon and would point you in the direction of recent media coverage about our neighbourhood work, the full page of our CLAHRC NWC Brokering Innovation Through Evidence (BITE) index explaining our research outputs and our CLAHRC NWC full index of publications

As we move into ARC NWC I have set a target of 50 publications for its first year. This figure, coupled with grant income and evidence of impact remain our output targets on which we will be judged by our grant provider, the National Institute for Health Research in Summer 2020.   

For those interested in the wider work of ARCs please read the latest ARC community newsletter.

Alternatively, if you would like to start to the ball rolling by putting your own idea to our own themes and for discussion on the next ARCFEST day, please complete the online form at and email it to us at

I appreciate your attendance and continued support as we operationalise the Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast (ARC NWC). 
Professor Mark Gabbay
Director of ARC NWC 


ARC NWC launch event

Over 180 delegates attended the ARC NWC launch event in Blackpool on 20th November. Badged as an ARCFEST day (ARC Festival), this was the first of a cycle of quarterly meetings to bring together all stakeholders of the ARC NWC collaboration.  


Hosted at the Grand Hotel, the day kicked off with a presentation from each of the new ARC NWC theme leads, providing an outline of their theme structure and objectives.

Delegates were then given a chance to break out and attend the inaugural theme meetings, giving member representatives, public advisers and academics the chance to discuss what they believed to be the key ideas currently impacting on health and wellbeing across the region.

The event also hosted the first members’ forum and public advisers’ forum. This was a space where members and public advisers could discuss their role in the ARC and how they see themselves fitting into the new themes. The theme of the day reflected the priorities going forward into the ARC – namely collaboration and implementation.

Dr Louise Wood, Director of Science, Research and Evidence at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) (pictured, above) , outlined the importance of the £135m+ investment in ARCs and suggested the acronym could also mean A for Ambition, R for Reach and C for Collaboration. 

Before formally launching ARC NWC she commented: “In response to a survey that we did, one person said ‘what you guys at the NIHR need to be focussing on is ‘helping people to be born well, live well and die well’.  To me that is what gets me up in the morning, and I think that those three elements are absolutely core to what the cohorts of the NIHR ought to be doing.”

ARC NWC also hosted the inaugural meeting of all new ARC Directors, Programme Managers and Implementation leads on the 21st November at the same venue. 

A full index of all ARCs and their index of work areas is available here. 

ARC NWC to evaluate impact of Pennine mental well-being initiative

Experts at the Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast (ARC NWC) have been commissioned to evaluate a key public health initiative in Lancashire.  


The National Institute for Health Research’s School of Public Health has awarded a grant of £155,000 to assess the impact of the Pennine Lancashire Sport England Pilot - Together an Active Future (members of the team, pictured above), an initiative aimed at individuals living or working in Pennine Lancashire who are at risk of mental well-being challenges.

ARC NWC is a government-funded collaboration, which brings together universities, local authorities, the NHS and the public to reduce health inequalities across the North West Coast and has been awarded the grant.   

Dr Tanith Rose, Research Associate in Health Data Analysis for Public Health and Policy at the University of Liverpool, said, “The grant money we have received at ARC NWC will fund a Post-Doctoral Research Associate post to carry out a quantitative evaluation of the Pennine scheme  alongside a process evaluation led by Lancaster University. By working with the local council and other providers we can help assess the impact this initiative is having on the health of the local population.”

Pennine Lancashire has a population of 532,500. The Pennine Lancashire Sport England Pilot - Together an Active Future is a project aiming to pave the way for transforming the lives of residents by encouraging them to become more active and use sport to lead happier and healthier lives. Its target audience will predominantly be the inactive population of approximately 106,000, particularly those with/at risk of mental wellbeing challenges due to life events.

Proposed outputs for the pilot include an increased awareness of the benefits of physical activity, increased uptake in use of local facilities for sport and an insight for service providers on how life events affect mental well-being.

The project will also facilitate a step change in how local facility providers work by collaborating on sharing ideas and resources that will support educational attainment and access to employment opportunities.

Ken Barnsley, Public Health Specialist (Age Well) at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said “This is a great opportunity to develop robust ways to look at the impact on people and communities in Pennine Lancashire of a major national pilot to address physical inactivity. The impact evaluation has great potential to impact on ways of working to increase physical activity nationally and reduce health inequalities“

Mark Gabbay, Director of ARC NWC, said: “This is an example of our members benefitting from our expertise and ability to secure grants for evaluation of front line services. We will share the findings amongst the collaboration so that communities across the North West Coast can benefit from the pioneering work in Lancashire as we continue to unite to reduce health inequalities.”

ARC NWC starts spreading the message

Thank you to all those who visited our stand at several key research events around the region including  The Single Point of Access to Research and Knowledge (SPARK) conference in Liverpool, and The Society for Academic Primary Care Conference (SAPC) North Conference in Preston.

A presentation about the work of ARC NWC also featured as a keynote speech at the latter event and ideas proposed included working on projects ranging from reducing addiction to substances in Blackpool, to managing and analysing children's Accident and Emergency department data in Liverpool.   


Symposium hears public adviser involvement successes



A big thank you to the CLAHRC NWC Public Advisers who took part in a special public involvement session at the Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology Annual Conference 2019 on 5 November in Liverpool. 

Alan Price is a CLAHRC NWC / ARC NWC  Public Adviser, who got involved with CLAHRC NWC after experiencing intense mental health problems which led him to taking time off work. Speaking at the symposium, he said "The CLAHRC NWC has opened up a lot of opportunities for me. As a Public Adviser, you really feel your worth. People genuinely listen to you and your opinion always counts. Before being involved with CLAHRC I always thought 'what do I know?' but there are so many people out there who have had mental health problems, everybody has different journeys and we're seeing those journeys being used to help with vital research."  You can learn more about Alan's journey, and his role as a public adviser by watching this video.

At the symposium, we also heard from Rebecca West, a representative from ForHousing, an organisation which aims to help people find the right home for them, and establish community where they live. Rebecca said that working in collaboration with CLAHRC NWC was an environment of 'true co-production.' Expanding on this, she said that this was "one of the best projects that I have ever worked on. We have managed to build meaningful relationships with the community in a time when we really needed that. Working together has been very rewarding and inspiring."

Stephanie Tomlinson, a Resident Adviser, outlined how a strong element of public involvement in research can really improve communities. She has been involved in multiple projects with the aim of improving people's sense of community in her local area. One of these projects is Stockbridge in Stories, a project aimed at tackling social isolation in Stockbridge Village. Local residents were interviewed and asked to share stories about their involvement in the community and their relationships with neighbours, and these stories have been coupled with unique animations which bring them to life, and have been cumulated in the Stockbridge in Stories Booklet.

Stephanie said: "These stories are told by the community, and owned by the community as well. This project opened doors which, for a lot of Public Advisers, were closed to us in the past. A lot of our elderly residents are very isolated and lonely, and this was a really positive project which has longevity and is sustainable even after the money runs out. Working with CLAHRC NWC has been eye opening, it's challenged and strengthened us. The skills that Public Advisers bring to the table are vital and have inspired our Residential Advisers and helped them to up skill, which has been invaluable to the community. As we see strategies introduced, it is important that members of the public can sit down at the table and understand the conversations being had. Impoverished communities often lack aspirations, but through our work we have been able to embed aspirations into our community, and it has been co-productive all the way through."

Research recruitment hits the streets 


As part of its Emerging Technology and Innovation (ETI) work NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Cluster B aims to design a process by which they can recruit study participants from high street health care providers (such as Ophthalmology and Audiology providers) or organisations that support health in some way (e.g. gyms, slimming clubs).       
To support this ETI they are running a workshop, on 31 January 2020 in London, which will bring the research community together to discuss how we work in these settings now, specifically identifying successes and challenges and based on these, identifying the key elements of a recruitment strategy that the CRN could use. 
If this is of interest, please register / propose a nominated representative via this Eventbrite registration page ( 


Awards progress
Marking is under way of entries for the The North West Coast Research and Innovation Awards 2020 which will celebrate success and the excellent work being undertaken in health and care research across the region. The work being celebrated is carried out every day by a wide variety of stakeholders. These awards are our opportunity to showcase the best research and innovation in NHS organisations, industry and academic partners, third sector organisations, local authorities and other collaborations in health innovation.

The awards are hosted by the Innovation Agency NIHR Clinical Research Network North West Coast (CRN NWC) , and Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast (ARC NWC). If any ARC NWC member representative would like to attend the awards night, as our guest, please email as the allocated  number of places will be served on a first-come-first-served basis. The awards event will be held on 28th February 2020 at Park Royal Hotel, Warrington.

The ARC NWC categories include: The Ruth Young Award for Implementation, Award for Reducing Health Inequalities, Research Student of the Year and Award for Capacity Building. 

Applications are invited for three full-time PhD (via MPhil) studentships in the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing and the Faculty of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences at UCLan, funded by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North West Coast.

The studentships are tenable for up to 3 years full-time (subject to satisfactory progress) and will cover the cost of tuition fees at Home/EU rates. A stipend is payable at £15009 per annum, and an additional allowance of up to £1000 per year will be paid for approved research costs.

Clarissa keeps blogging
Dr Clarissa Giebel, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate at ARC NWC has produced her latest blog  Setting up a dementia and ageing network in Dementia Researcher. Follow her on Twitter @ClarissaGiebel

Collaborative work showcased 
Thanks to former CLAHRC NWC researcher Dr Pooja Saini who showcased the work of CLAHRC NWC's Partner Priority Programme on the ARC NWC member Liverpool John Moores University's MSc Health Psychology Conference on 11th December. Big thanks to the CLAHRC NWC / ARC NWC Public Advisers who also took part and featured in the literature.  

Achievements and Reflections of CLAHRC NWC 


A publication featuring some of the highlights of the CLAHRC NWC's achievements has been produced as a record of its legacy.

Jane Cloke, ARC NWC Programme Manager, said: "We can't feature everything we achieved in ARC NWC but hopefully it offers a taster to those who have joined the ARC NWC fresh as to what we can do when we collaborate together. We plan to also circulate it to other ARCs in the New Year."  


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