Working together to tackle health inequalities
and improve the health of the public

We plan to deliver four outcomes:

New insights into the complex links between causes and consequences
For example the interdependencies between work, income, housing, poverty and health.

A new systems sciences approach to the economics of prevention
For example by examining the cost-effectiveness of policies that have outcomes affecting multiple government sectors.

A move towards multi-sectoral policy design, appraisal and evaluation
Our new methods will show opportunities for win-wins, trade-offs and the monitoring of the long term effects of policies.

Lasting change to partners’ policy processes
SIPHER will inform the development of cross-governmental business cases and budget allocation decisions by providing new cross-sector cost-benefit analyses.

SIPHER’s Policy Processes

SIPHER has eight tightly-interwoven WS, using a mix of qualitative and quantitative systems science:

WS1 – Understanding Policy Processes & Evidence Needs (lead: Prof Kat Smith)
uses a novel combination of qualitative methods including interviews, system mapping, ethnographic research and documentary analysis.

WS2 – Evidence Synthesis (lead: Dr Suzy Paisley)
develops and applies iterative literature search and review strategies that are suitable for supporting complex systems modelling.

WS3 – Data & System Monitoring (lead: Dr Nik Lomax, Prof Alison Heppenstall)
builds a secure data infrastructure, creates detailed simulated populations and develops a system monitoring function to inform adaptive policymaking.

WS4 – Causal System Dynamics Modelling (lead: Prof Visakan Kadirkamanathan)
models the dynamics and feedback effects of higher-order causal processes, e.g. the relationships between unemployment, poverty and mortality.

WS5 – Policy Microsimulation (lead: Prof Alison Heppenstall, Dr Nik Lomax)
models the impacts of environment and policy on the characteristics of individuals and households, showing how policy impacts differ across geographic areas and societal groups.

WS6 – Societal Valuation (lead: Prof Aki Tsuchiya)
provides insight into how people value different policy outcomes, and translates the multiplicity of outcomes that arise from a whole-systems perspective into two common well-being measures needed for economic evaluation.

WS7 – Economic Evaluation & Decision Support (lead: Dr Robin Purshouse)
uses distributed, robust multi-objective optimization to develop a cross-sector economic evaluation tool that identifies those strategies that perform well across key policy outcomes and for different assumptions about future developments.

WS8 – Evaluation (lead: Prof Petra Meier)
uses ongoing multi-perspective process evaluation to evaluate SIPHER’s scientific contribution and real-world impact.

To do this we have developed a novel approach that blends the strengths of different scientific disciplines and methods.

This includes work to develop a thorough understanding of partners’ policy priorities and processes, synthesis of existing data and evidence, new data analytics infrastructure, complex systems modelling, cost-benefit analysis and multi-criteria decision support. Each element of this work will draw on the other elements for a coherent research and engagement programme to tackle chronic disease and health inequalities.

We will showcase our work at regular events, presentations, newsletters and reports for academic, policy and lay audiences. All new methods, models, tools and research findings will be open access and made available on our website.

We are always keen to develop new links with interested research centres, local and national governments, as well as health- and social justice-focused charities and interest groups. We want to ensure our new methods and findings are helpful to everyone who may use them. Please get in touch!

Please contact Consortium Directors
Professor Petra Meier
p.meier@sheffield.ac.uk
Dr Robin Purshouse
r.purshouse@sheffield.ac.uk.