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A guide to the NIHR's Public Health Knowledge Mobilisation team

Knowledge for Public Health


This interactive guide to the core documentation of KNOW-PH is a living product.It records our principles, policies and ways of doing things.

Deep coproduction

What is KNOW-PH?

Project management

Public and community engagement

Evaluation and impact

Rapid response

What is KNOW-PH?

  • Driven by coproduction
  • Responsive to policy and practice need
  • Learning and action oriented
  • Evidence and theory informed

Our aims

To develop, design and deliver knowledge mobilisation (KMb) locally and nationally to benefit public health and to reduce helath inequalities. We are:

Knowledge for Public Health is the NIHR's Public Health Knowledge Mobilisation team

Our principles

We are committed to culturally relevant storytelling and creativity

We will work with people and places to support evidence use. We will do this by operating these principles.

KNOW-PH principles







Responsive to end-user needs

Customising inputs and outputs to suit end users

Human-centred, multimedia storytelling

Valuing skills, knowledge and context, including political and policy sensitivities

Making sensible choices to mobilise knowledge for public good

Awareness of timelines and timeliness to accelerate impact


Project management

EthicsEquality, diversity and inclusionTopic prioritisation

Project Management Plan

Academic steering group

Scientific summary

Plain English summary


Public and community engagement (PACE)

Public & community engagement strategyWelcome packTerms of referenceOutputsTraining

Meeting notes


Deep coproduction

Topic prioritisation

What we mean by coproduction

Rapid response

Year 1 projects


  • Workplace health and wellbeing

Evaluation and impact

Evaluation plan


Pathway to impact

Reducing workplace stressors

A short project with the Health and Safety Executive and Lincolnshire County Council

What is the problem?Workplace stress can cause poor mental and physical health outcomes for workers. Local government face particular challenges that are likely to contribute to a stressful working environment. Financial challenges and post-COVID workplace rearrangements require attention.

What did KNOW-PH do?We worked with HSE and LCC, sharing the evidence available in the NIHR portfolio. We produced videos, evidence summaries and engaged in sense-making discussions. Where can I find out more? Look at our figshare collection

Workplace health and wellbeing

With a focus on workplace stress

  • Professor Annette Boaz (Chair), Kings College London
  • Dr Helen Baxter, University of Bristol
  • Professor Fiona Cowdell, Birmingham City University
  • Dr Peter van der Graaf, Northumbria University
  • Dr Jennifer Lynch, University of Hertfordshire
  • Dr Daniel Masterson, University of Skovde
  • Professor Ellen Stewart, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Jane West, Bradford Institute for Health Research and University of Sheffield

Accurate at 20 May 2024

Group members

The aim of KNOW-PH (Knowledge for Public Health) is to develop, design and deliver knowledge mobilisation in local settings for the benefit of public health and to reduce health inequalities. We will do this using non-linear, 'Mode 2' models of knowledge mobilisation that are: i) driven by coproduction; ii) responsive to policy and practice need; iii) learning and action oriented; and, iv) evidence and theory informed. Our approach is creative by design, engaging with policymakers, practitioners and communities across the local public health landscape in the UK. THE PROGRAMME: There are two interrelated components with local government and community partnership at its core: 1) Deep coproduction. This component will mobilise knowledge, organised over two cycles of coproduction (16 months each) using creative methods with local authorities and their partners. 2) Responsive knowledge mobilisation. This will include shorter term knowledge mobilisation projects (3-6 months long), focused on NIHR and stakeholder needs where a 'window of opportunity' emerges to address timely, high priority topics for local areas. An iterative process for developing topic focus, synthesising evidence form the NIHR portfolio and coproduction activities will be applied and tailored to the specific needs of local partners. This will be achieved in close collaboration with the NIHR PHR programme team and with two main pillars of KNOW-PH: the Local Authority Reference Group and the Public and Community and Engagement panel. Our inputs and outputs will be distinctively creative using methods such as storyboarding, forum theatre, Lego serious play, arts-based methods and many other creative forms. Our work will be evaluated pragmatically and continuously for impact, capacity-building and cross-sectoral learning. We will produce multiple outputs including project-specific knowledge products, training outputs, guidelines for knowledge mobilisation and how to use creative methods with local government. PATHWAYS TO IMPACT: Our coproduction methods offer a promising route to social, policy, practice and behaviour change. Our projects will mobilise knowledge at receptive moments (e.g. when there is engaged public debate) to capture individual, organisational and system interests at the right time. We will build a social media strategy and extend our community of practice work (e.g. the Knowledge Mobilisation Alliance) to deliver longer term goals. Our pathway promotes longer term embedded practice that will create a shift in ways of doing evidence mobilisation, with potentially long-term implications for health inequalities. PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT AND ENGAGEMENT: Our Public and Community Engagement (PACE) group is at the centre of the work of KNOW-PH. Each project will have a small, bespoke Public Involvement and Engagement team advising. With diverse community organisation leadership, PACE will shape the priorities of the team and support timely and meaningful public involvement across the knowledge mobilisation processes ensuring that community interests are properly represented.

Scientific abstract

Important research is not always used in planning and delivering services that support people's health. This is not because research is not good or relevant enough but because organisations, resources and processes are often not in place to turn, or mobilise, knowledge into action. This team Knowledge for Public Health (KNOW-PH) is a specialist group that will improve how knowledge is used in public health at the local level. AIMS: KNOW-PH will develop, design and deliver new and better ways of helping local government public health teams (in Councils/local authorities) and their partners use research evidence in their planning and delivery of services. We will get evidence into practice that helps to ensure that different groups in the population do not experience avoidable and unfair differences in health (health inequalities). APPROACH: We will make a difference to how research is used in local government in four ways: 1) By working together to use evidence and blend it with local knowledge (coproduction), 2) By using evidence that will change plans and services for the better, 3) By learning from what we do and sharing that learning, and 4) By bringing evidence to the people in local government in the most effective way. We will use creative methods such as storytelling, arts, design, theatre and animation to engage people with evidence and shape it to meet their goals. We will work closely with people in local government to meet our aims. This includes public health staff, elected members and other supporting staff (e.g. environmental health officers, housing officers). We will also work closely with members of the public through our diverse Public and Community Engagement group and in our chosen projects to make sure our knowledge-to-action work reflects public needs. DESIGN & METHODS: We will work in two main ways: 1. Detailed work ( deep dives ) on topics that matter to local government. We will first work with our funders, our Local Authority Reference Group and a diverse group of public advisers to choose the most important topics. We will then work closely with the evidence and with local government to apply research and local knowledge into better planning and delivery of services. 2. Quick response projects. Each project will last 3-6 months and will focus on an area that is important because it is urgent or a high priority for public health (e.g. recent issues like gambling and alcohol harms). Both these ways of working will involve local government and our public engagement team as key partners. THE TEAM: KNOW-PH brings together people working in universities, local government, the voluntary sector and creative industries (e.g. designers, artists). They have experience of public health and health inequalities and use novel, creative ideas to help turn evidence into action. SHARING OUR WORK Our partnerships with the people who will benefit from the work we do means that, right from the start, people will be more likely to use research in practice. We will share our work by creating training materials, animations, short videos, toolkits and infographics. We will meet with people from local authorities and the public, both face-to-face and online, to share our learning. By the end of the three years, we will have produced two guides for local authorities. The first of these will be on how to get evidence into action and the second will be a guide on the creative ways of doing this.

Plain English summary