Research and development

Urban Health Council

Advancing community-led urban health knowledge, locally and nationally

Key partnership information

  • Partner: Centric Lab
  • Funding amount: £300,000
  • Duration: Three years
  • Programme: Cross-programmatic, part of our research and development work 

What we are doing together

We’re investing in Centric Lab’s Urban Health Council, an independent research, collaboration, and advocacy platform engaging a range of organisations to positively influence urban health policy. 

The Urban Health Council investigates how systems of power come together in urban places and contribute to health outcomes.  

Over the next three years, Impact on Urban Health will act as an anchor funder, enabling the Council’s network of practitioners, policy experts and campaigners to advance community-led health knowledge both locally and nationally. The Council will support its members to investigate how systems of power contribute to health outcomes in urban areas by sharing tactics, research and best practice and putting the communities at the centre of developing strategies to improve health.  

Our funding will support the Urban Health Council as they continue to grow their work in three key areas: research; special partnerships; and storytelling and creative content.  

Aims of the partnership

We are particularly interested in ensuring that lived experience is centred within health research, practice and campaigning.  

We hope to see: 

  • The Urban Health Council using our body of evidence from other projects to advocate for equitable, community-led research practices and adopting what we’ve learnt into existing resources such as their Urban Health Toolkit. 
  • Narratives and scientific understanding in the Urban Health Council shifting towards community experience-led reporting.  
  • Community organisations holding meaningful relationships with scientists and researchers, and working on a one-to-one basis to advise and influence. 
  • Growth and development of a platform dedicated to building the missing infrastructure, knowledge, tools, and practices that reflect the lived experience of people in cities. 
  • The growth of the research sector to increasingly see lived experience knowledge as a credible source of evidence. 

We're excited to partner with Impact on Urban Health for the Urban Health Council as this funding and partnership helps deepen and sustain the pathways from lived experience-based research to influencing policy outcomes and social narratives.

Araceli Camargo Director at Centric Lab

Connection to our strategy

This investment is part of our Shifting the Power in Research portfolio with the Wellcome Trust.  

People experiencing the consequences of health inequity have the greatest potential to benefit from research, but often don’t have a say in what is studied and how. And whilst people can learn about, and be inspired, by research, they have few opportunities to contribute in ways that build, support and sustain their communities.  

If funding models don’t include the perspectives and lived experience of people who are affected, then research is less likely to result in meaningful assets that will improve long-term health. Currently, it is those with the time, resources and know-how who are much more likely to be successful in accessing funding; but their perspectives may not reflect the priorities, needs and interests of people experiencing poor health outcomes, and may hold conscious or unconscious biases. 

For urban areas to become healthier places for everyone to live, we must recognise our own role in perpetuating some of the negative aspects of research culture and work to rebalance the distribution of power, money, and resources we have as funders, to create more equitable and inclusive health research and funding practices. 

More about Centric Lab

Centric Lab use neuroscience and environmental data to identify how biological inequity contributes to poor health in neighbourhoods and people that have been racialised and marginalised. They use this research to build open-access community tools, create new narratives and framings of health, and provide organisations with expertise and insights on health and place. Centric Lab is led by a team of scientists from under-represented communities that are Black, Indigenous, and descendants of immigrant communities. This plays a key role in how they frame the science, the type of work that is chosen, and how they do the work. 

Visit Centric Lab website