Model for Joint Working

The UKCRC’s initiatives in public health and microbiology and infectious diseases research were an outcome of multiple funders working together in Strategic Planning Groups (SPGs).

The SPG model, originally developed by the National Cancer Research Institute, has led to the establishment of several successful multi-funder initiatives such as the National Prevention Research Initiative.

SPGs are time-limited groups aimed at developing a coherent approach to research funding within a specific area. They are composed of senior representatives from major UK funders that are active in the area of research interest.

An SPG carries out an evidence-based review to identify gaps and opportunities in the field. Evidence is gathered from multiple sources and the SPG consults with key experts and stakeholders in the field. Typical issues examined by SPGs are resources, infrastructure, training, workforce capacity, funding and interdisciplinary working.

The evidence is used to identify key priority areas. The funders then agree and implement joint and/or coordinated individual actions to address these issues.

A key feature of an SPG is that its membership comprises funding organisations with the financial means to implement practical actions in areas highlighted in the evidence-gathering process.