A transdisciplinary complex adaptive systems (T-CAS) approach to developing a national school-based culture of prevention for health improvement: the school health research network (SHRN) in Wales

Murphy, S. et al. (2018) A transdisciplinary complex adaptive systems (T-CAS) approach to developing a national school-based culture of prevention for health improvement: the school health research network (SHRN) in Wales. Prevention Science, (doi:10.1007/s11121-018-0969-3) (PMID:30536190) (Early Online Publication)

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The paper reflects on a transdisciplinary complex adaptive systems (T-CAS) approach to the development of a school health research network (SHRN) in Wales for a national culture of prevention for health improvement in schools. A T-CAS approach focuses on key stages and activities within a continuous network cycle to facilitate systems level change. The theory highlights the importance of establishing transdisciplinary strategic partnerships to identify and develop opportunities for system reorientation. Investment in and the linking of resources develops the capacity for key social agents to take advantage of disruption points in the re-orientated system, and engagement activities develop the network to facilitate new social interactions and opportunities for transdisciplinary activities. A focus on transdisciplinary action research to co-produce interventions, generate research evidence and inform policy and practice is shown to play an important part in developing new normative processes that act to self-regulate the emerging system. Finally, the provision of reciprocal network benefits provides critical feedback loops that stabilise the emerging adaptive system and promote the network cycle. SHRN is shown to have embedded itself in the system by securing sustainability funding from health and education, a key role in national and regional planning and recruiting every eligible school to the network. It has begun to reorient the system to one of evidence generation (56 research studies co-produced) and opportunities for data-led practice at multiple levels. Further capacity development will be required to capitalise on these. The advantages of a complex systems approach to address barriers to change and the transferability of a T-CAS network approach across settings and cultures are highlighted.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The work was undertaken with the support of The Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence. Joint funding (MR/KO232331/1) from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the Welsh Government and the Wellcome Trust, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged. The School Health Research Network has received funding from the UK Medical Research Council (grant reference MR/L002787/ 1), Public Health Wales and Welsh Government.
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Moore, Professor Laurence
Authors: Murphy, S., Littlecott, H., Hewitt, G., MacDonald, S., Roberts, J., Bishop, J., Roberts, C., Thurston, R., Bishop, A., Moore, L., and Moore, G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
Journal Name:Prevention Science
ISSN (Online):1573-6695
Published Online:08 December 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Prevention Science 2018
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727661SPHSU Core Renewal: Complexity in Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/14IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU