Press Release issued when the GDAR funding was announced in July 2017.

The MRC Epidemiology Unit has been awarded funding by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for a new international research partnership to help combat poor diet and physical inactivity in order to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases.

The Global Diet and Activity Research Group and Network (GDAR) will carry out research to help prevent non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, which are a major and growing cause of death and disability in low and middle income countries. Two of the most important causes behind the increases in these diseases are unhealthy diets and a lack of physical activity, both of which are associated with the rapid economic development that is taking place in these countries.

The partners in the GDAR network are:

  • MRC Epidemiology Unit, and the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) in the UK
  • University of the Witwatersrand and University of Cape Town in South Africa
  • University of Yaounde in Cameroon
  • Centre for Global Health Research at the Kenyan Medical Research Institute
  • Caribbean Institute for Health Research, University of the West Indies.

In the future we anticipate being able to expand the Network to include further partners in other countries.

GDAR will:

  • generate evidence on the factors that lead to poor diet and physical inactivity
  • design and evaluate interventions to change these factors
  • investigate the long-term health and economic effects of such interventions.

Our work will contribute towards meeting the United Nations developed Sustainable Development Goals that commit countries to reducing mortality from NCDs in adults aged 30 to 70 years by one third by 2030. It will involve finding solutions that are affordable and created in partnership with local communities.

This funding is part of funding recently announced by the Department of Health for 33 research units and groups who will receive over £120 million of funding for Global Health Research after a successful open research competition led by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): improving the health and wealth of the nation through research. Established by the Department of Health, the NIHR:

  • funds high quality research to improve health
  • trains and supports health researchers
  • provides world-class research facilities
  • works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all
  • involves patients and the public at every step

For further information, visit the NIHR website (