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Public health

In funding public health research, our aim is to improve understanding of the relationship between people’s mental and physical health and their social and economic outcomes. Through our Oliver Bird Fund, we aim to improve the lives of people living with musculoskeletal conditions.

Our public health research explores the social and economic implications of physical disability, mental ill health and chronic illness. For example, the relationship between people’s health and their income, quality of life, and family circumstances.

We also want to understand more about health inequalities; for example, the impacts of ethnicity, socioeconomic status or geography, and what policy options might address them.

We have a dedicated fund for research into musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions – the Oliver Bird Fund. MSK conditions affect the joints, bones and muscles including arthritis, back and neck pain, as well as rare autoimmune diseases. Together, these conditions affect 17.8 million people in the UK and are the single biggest cause of pain and disability.


Our team

  • Alex Beer
    Senior Consultant, Welfare
  • Programme Head, Welfare

  • Mark-Franks-Nuffield-Foundation-Together-alone-connecting-individual-and-collective-well-being-through-our-work-in-welfare
    Director, Welfare

Our impact in public health

Public health projects

2 of 2


Education | Welfare | 2013 – 2019

Neglected tropical diseases

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Welfare | 2011 – 2013

Smoking: behavioural economics and public policy

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Welfare | 2011 – 2014

Prenatal sex selection against females in the UK

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In progress

Education | 2017 – 2020

Fertility treatments and children’s educational outcomes

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Latest in public health

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.