Working with partners, our Academic Partnership brings together leading researchers in the field of social prescribing to ensure that the evidence on social prescribing is accessible, useful and compelling.

As outlined in our Strategic Plan, A Social Revolution in Wellbeing, there is a large and growing evidence base supporting the benefits of social prescribing for people’s health and wellbeing, however it is not comprehensive nor always easy to access. This poses an obstacle to the future growth of social prescribing at a time when demand is growing, especially to support those most impacted by COVID-19.

To address this, we have established a new academic partnership for social prescribing, bringing together a collaborative of some of the leading researchers in this field to help build an evidence base that is more accessible, useful and compelling.

We, and the Academic Partnership will work closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and other partners, to share existing evidence more effectively, and with focus on outcomes for people, local systems and communities. Following the success of this collaborative approach, we are working with the Academic Partnership to rotate the leadership of the group on a regular basis. The lead partner role is currently being handed over from the University of Plymouth to the University of the West of England The core members of the Academic Partnership are University of Plymouth’s National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula, The Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, based in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care,  University of Oxford; University of East London; Sheffield Hallam University; The Social Prescribing Network;  University of the West of England; and University College London and the National Centre for Creative Health.

The Academic Partnership will:

  • establish a stakeholder group to inform this evidence work, welcoming interest from across the social prescribing pathway, both UK and internationally.
  • work with stakeholders to prioritise where access to evidence would help social prescribing to thrive. Once these priorities are agreed, the team will:
    • start to bring existing evidence together into a compelling and accessible online resource. This will include new evidence summaries in key areas.
    • identify a roadmap of future research and evidence that is needed to support the development of social prescribing policy, practice and research.

The programme started in February 2021 and will report in early 2022.

You can register your interest in joining the Academic Partners’ Collaborative. The collaborative is a stakeholder group and network for anyone interested in improving the evidence around social prescribing.