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Research Centres

The Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing contain and supports a number of affiliated Research Units and Centres, outlined below. Please follow the links to visit dedicated pages for each of these.

Durham Health and Social Theory Group

Housed in the Department of Sociology, we have members from a variety of Departments throughout Durham University, Northern England, the UK, and various universities and organisations across the rest of the world. In short, while resolutely sociological, our approach is interdisciplinary and global. Our research combines inter-disciplinary knowledge and expertise around ageing (biology, technology, physical activity, and formal and informal networks of care and support); professions and work (pharmacy, public health, sport and physical activity, social work, social care and governance, policy networks and capacity building); health behaviours (young mothers and breastfeeding, nutrition, physical activity and weight loss); the complexities of health (nexus issues, complex health systems, public health) and community and place (health promotion, health inequalities, place, well-being and community pharmacy). Core concepts include citizenship, the social contract and voice; measurement, self-rated health and evidence; social complexity and identity, equity, and equality.

Durham Centre for Imaging (DCI)

Durham Centre for Imaging has the primary role of encouraging and facilitating research using the University's Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) facility. The facility is shared equally between the University and South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust, and is situated at the James Cook University Hospital (JCUH) in Middlesbrough. The Centre organizes regular scientific meetings, facilitates and coordinates in-house and external training, and co-ordinates meetings of facility users for discussions on specific topics.

Centre for Global Infectious Disease (CGID)

Microbial pathogens are major threats to global human health and food security. For example, 19 tropical diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and helminths affect a staggering 2.7 billion people. This problem is exacerbated by the rise of drug resistance and a lack of investment in antimicrobial discovery. Drawing on expertise at Durham and partner organisations across the biological, chemical and physical sciences, we seek to develop collaborative efforts for the identification and inhibition of novel antimicrobial targets, ultimately leading towards the development of new therapies and preventative strategies.

Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease

Established in April 2001, the Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease (CHMD) is a Research Centre that provides a focus for interdisciplinary research and postgraduate education in the history of medicine, health, disease, and medical ethics. It has members from several departments with interests in history of medicine, including Archaeology, Geography, History, Modern European Languages and Cultures, and Philosophy.

Durham CELLS (Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences)

Durham CELLS supports excellence in teaching and research on the ethical, social and regulatory issues raised by the life sciences. We promote exchanges of ideas and the production of high-quality scholarship within and beyond the University. Our expertise spans a wide range of academic disciplines such as anthropology, biology, law, medicine, philosophy, sociology and theology.

Anthropology of Health Group

The Anthropology of Health Group bridges biological and social anthropology, community medicine, evolutionary medicine, social epidemiology and public health. We work on local, regional and international scales. We aim to advance the interdisciplinary anthropological study of health, to critically debate local and international health issues, and to support impact and outreach activities.

NIHR Research Support Service (RSS)

Formerly the NIHR Research Design Service North East and North Cumbria (NENC)

The NIHR has awarded £97.5 million over five years to fund its new Research Support Service. The RSS provides free and confidential support, advice and expertise for all researchers in England working across the remit of the NIHR.

The funding includes £30m for specialist centres to provide expertise in public health research.

The service will support researchers, and those aspiring to be involved in research. The RSS provides support at every stage, from pre-application through to post-award delivery.

The NIHR Research Support Service (RSS) is a national service. This allows it to offer the most effective and consistent support for researchers. Health and care researchers can access expert support, independent of their geographic location.

The RSS replaces the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) and support funding for Clinical Trials Units (CTUs), which came to an end on 30 September 2023. The RDS will continue to support existing clients until March 2024.

The NIHR RSS is available to researchers based in England. Researchers based in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who are seeking support should continue to access their own national services.

Delivery and core services

The NIHR RSS is delivered collaboratively through eight RSS hubs across England. Each hub is a partnership of research groups and organisations. After contacting an RSS hub, researchers will be referred to experts within the network who are best placed to provide the support they need.

Specialist centres will offer expertise and support for public health and social care research.

The core services offered by the NIHR RSS include:

  • Pre and post-award advice from methodologists. This includes statisticians, qualitative researchers, health economists, social scientists, behavioural scientists, clinical trialists and others with expertise in study development
  • Advice on patient and public involvement and engagement
  • Advice on developing and delivering inclusive research
  • Support for clinical trial development and delivery
  • Opportunities to collaborate with centres of research excellence in the development and delivery of projects
  • Signposting to other sources of advice and support to facilitate research delivery. This includes NIHR Clinical Research Facilities. It also includes Clinical Trials Units, the Health Research Authority and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)

The NIHR RSS works in partnership with the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) to help researchers plan and deliver their projects at study sites, including within the NHS. This support is provided by the NIHR Study Support Service (SSS). The RSS will direct supported researchers to the SSS when appropriate. This includes attributing study activities at the funding and approvals stage using the national standard of the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool (SoECAT).

An NIHR RSS National Collaborative Strategic Lead Function will be established during 2024 to provide strategic leadership across all the hubs. This will also allow the RSS to benefit from central coordination and operational efficiencies.

The Centre for Social Justice and Community Action

The Centre for Social Justice and Community Action is a research centre at Durham University, made up of academic researchers from a number of departments and community partners. Our aim is to promote and develop research, teaching, public/community engagement, and staff development within and outside the university.  Our broad theme is social justice in local and international settings, with a specific focus on participatory action research.

Centre for Death and Life Studies

The Centre exists to foster and conduct research into life-values, beliefs, and practices that relate to living and dying. It seeks to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary approaches wherever possible between the humanities, the social and life-sciences, and medicine. It also benefits from the support of Durham University's Institute of Advanced Study.

Durham Endocrinology & Ecology Laboratory

The Durham Endocrinology & Ecology Laboratory is a biological facility located at the Wolfson Research Institute, Queen's Campus, Stockton. Developed by the Department of Anthropology, the lab is designed to conduct interdisciplinary research into endocrine biomarkers in the domains of stress, reproductive ecology, obesity and health. This unique research facility has been established to support a wide range of novel anthropological and health-related research projects and collaborations.

Enquiries regarding the laboratory, its facilities, usage costings, hormone research and future collaboration should be directed to Gill Cooper in the first instance: (0191 334 0466).

Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA)

Based within the School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA) is dedicated to improving knowledge about interpersonal violence and abuse and to improving professional and societal responses. As such, the Centre has research impact at its core. CRiVA was launched by joint directors Professor Nicole Westmarland and Professor Simon Hackett in June 2013.  Professors Westmarland and Hackett both have backgrounds in the voluntary sector – working towards ending violence and abuse in society – and this is a driving force in the work of CRiVA. 

The Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre

The Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre (DISC--formerly the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab) is a research centre of the Department of Anthropology, the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health and the Wolfson Institute for Health & Well-being. It is the home for a group of researchers examining various aspects of infant and child sleep and parenting behaviour. The research programmes have been in operation since 1995. As our research team has grown our research focus has broadened to cover infant and child sleep ecology, sleep development, sleep safety, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), parental sleep, night-time infant care, feeding practices, thermal care and infant thermoregulation during sleep, twin infant sleep behaviour and physiology, postnatal ward environments and maternal-infant sleep, cross-cultural infant care practices, and the evaluation of interventions affecting parental and infant sleep. We collaborate with academics from a wide range of disciplines around the world, and with a variety of research users. We created and run the Baby Sleep Info Source website for parents and health professionals in order to make academic infant sleep research findings available to parents and health professionals. DISC provides opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students to become involved in our research, and we welcome enquiries.