Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) are partnerships between some of the country’s best universities, leading innovators and local authorities to solve some of the biggest issues facing health and social care today. The 15 ARCs across England are made up of health and care providers, commissioners, local authorities, universities, private companies, charities, and academics, who are working together to address specific health or care issues in their region.

The Yorkshire and Humber ARC supports people-powered research that aims to tackle inequalities and improve health and well-being for our communities. Our themes of healthy childhood, mental health and multimorbidity, older people and urgent care are the priorities that have been identified by our NHS partners and the public and will ensure our region will benefit from cutting-edge innovation.

New ideas, tools and research evidence about how to improve health and care services are rife. Our ‘Improvement Science’ focuses on creating the evidence for how best to create these ideas/tools and how to embed them into practice to achieve positive change for individuals, teams, organisations and systems. We are a team of improvement researchers (including psychologists, sociologists, designers and health service researchers) with extensive experience of improvement and research methods. Our theme is led by Professor Rebecca Lawton.


October 2019 – September 2024

Theme aims

The key goal of our theme is to support the core themes in ARC by applying and adapting improvement methods and embedding a behavioural science perspective across the ARC. Specifically, this entails supporting our colleagues with:

  • diagnosing the problem
  • understanding complexity
  • developing solutions
  • evidence based implementation
  • evaluating complex interventions.

We are setting up an ‘implementation laboratory’ which will test different enhancements to audit and feedback to promote better uptake of best practice in primary care. We also support the adoption and spread of new ideas/research findings by working closely with the Improvement Academy, and act as a translational pathway for emerging ideas from the NIHR Yorkshire and Humber Patient Safety Translational Research Centre.

Examples of our projects

  • We are collaborating with our Older People with Frailty theme colleagues to improve delayed transfers of care. Specifically we want to understand from the perspective of older adults and their families, what are their expectations and experiences of this aspect of their care?
  • We are collaborating with colleagues in our Urgent and Emergency Care theme to understand the impact on patient outcomes of clinician tolerance/intolerance of uncertainty.

Further information

For further information contact Professor Rebecca Lawton, Theme Lead R.J.Lawton@leeds.ac.uk or Ruth Simms-Ellis, Programme Manager R.Simms-Ellis@leeds.ac.uk

This summary presents research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) ARC Yorkshire and Humber. The views expressed are those of the author(s), and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

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