The MRC Epidemiology Unit studies the genetic, developmental and environmental factors that cause obesity, diabetes and related metabolic disorders, as well as approaches to the prevention of these diseases and their consequences.
The Unit has seven Medical Research Council core-funded programmes of research, ranging from the aetiology and mechanisms of diabetes and related metabolic disorders, through nutritional and physical activity epidemiology, to prevention-focused programmes in young people and adult populations. These are reviewed and funded on a five year basis. We completely our most recent five year funding review in 2020.
We also have a number of departmental programmes supported by a range of funders in areas including public health modelling, global public health, interventions in patient populations and the measurement of diet, nutrition and physical activity.
Our research programmes focusing on the measurement of diet, nutrition and physical activity form part of our leadership of the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) theme in Nutrition, Diet and Lifestyle. The Cambridge BRC links scientific research in world-class institutes with advances in patient care.
Our global public health research includes our leadership of the NIHR Global Diet and Activity Research Group and Network (GDAR), an international research partnership to help combat poor diet and physical inactivity in order to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases. The partners in the GDAR network include Universities in South Africa, Cameroon, Kenya and the West Indies.
As well as our specifically funded programmes, the Unit leads the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR). Originally established as one of five UKCRC Public Health Research Centres of Excellence, CEDAR has allowed us to build research capacity, develop and evaluate public health interventions and natural experimental studies, and help shape public health practice and policy. Using research from both MRC-funded and departmental programmes, CEDAR continues as a vehicle to communicate our translational public health work.
How our research programmes serve our objectives
We are delivering on our mission through eight High Level Objectives which connect all our research programmes and infrastructure.
The main objectives of each individual research programme are mapped to one or more of these High Level Objectives, which therefore provide a unifying framework to illustrate and augment the cross-links and collaborations between programmes.
Click to enlarge the image below to see how our programmes map to our objectives.
The Unit’s programmes are supported by a core set of prospective cohort studies, detailed quantitative trait metabolic studies, case-control studies and trials that serve both aetiological and preventive purposes. Read more about our research studies.
Underpinning all our scientific programmes and studies are specialist Research Operations teams. These include data management, information technology, laboratory analysis, statistics, physical activity and anthropometric measurement, study coordination, field epidemiology, and communications. Read more about our Research Operations teams.
Research papers published by members of the MRC Epidemiology Unit, as well as other scientific resources, are available here.
You can also search our publications through the University of Cambridge Apollo Repository.
- All of Apollo: www.repository.cam.ac.uk
- School of Clinical Medicine on Apollo: www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/34581
The MRC Epidemiology Unit data sharing portal provides access to our study meta-data. It includes summary details of our studies and data dictionaries which describe the types of data that are available. Read more about our data sharing policies and resources.
We aim to achieve our research aims while adhering to the highest ethical standards and working in accordance with requirements of the University of Cambridge and MRC policy and guidance, legislation and guidance from regulatory bodies as well as local ethical and governance frameworks. The Unit also acts in accordance with the Clinical School policies which can be found on the Research Governance website and the Information Governance website. These standards for good research practice underpin the quality of science and ensure the integrity of outputs. This provides assurance to those whose work builds on the findings of others to drive improvements in health and also supports public confidence and participation in research.