A research centre which focuses on improving the health and wellbeing of children and is a collaboration between Bristol, Cardiff and Swansea Universities has been awarded £4.3 million funding to continue its work for a further five years.
The Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer) tackles key public health issues such as smoking, obesity and mental health.
The renewed funding will enable experts from the Cardiff, Bristol and Swansea Universities to continue their work with children and young people across Wales and the South West, looking at how to tackle the social, environmental and behavioural issues which underlie health problems later in life.
DECIPHer research seeks to develop practical and innovative interventions, to follow them through and to see them implemented and evaluated, both locally and nationally.
DECIPHer is one of five Public Health Research Centres of Excellence in the UK which have been established by eight funding partners under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC).
It has attracted an additional £28 million in additional grant funding since its inception in 2009 and has become a focal point in Wales and South West England for collaboration between academia, policy, practice and the public in public health improvement research.
Professor Rona Campbell, from the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol, who also holds an Honorary Chair at Cardiff University, has been appointed the new Director of DECIPHer after being Co-Director for the last five years. Co-Directors Professor Simon Murphy and Professor Ronan Lyons will lead the centre's work at Cardiff and Swansea Universities.
Professor Campbell said: "DECIPHer has established itself as a centre of excellence for public health research focusing on children and young people. I am delighted to lead this dynamic collaboration between the Universities of Cardiff, Bristol and Swansea, alongside the public health policy and practice communities, to make a lasting impact on the health of children and young people across Wales, the South West of England, and internationally."
Among DECIPHer's successes to date is the ASSIST smoking prevention programme, which has targeted Year 8 pupils in 350 schools and has been proven to reduce smoking. If implemented throughout the UK, it is estimated that the ASSIST programme would prevent 40,000 young people taking up smoking each year.
There are four key programmes of research which will be developed further over the next five years, covering issues such as healthy eating, smoking, substance use, sexual health, and increasing physical activity.