Sharing all the latest news and views from across the ActEarly teams
AntennAE heading
Issue 5 – May 2022
Improving our two-way communications
HELLO AND WELCOME to the latest edition of AntennAE, our regular monthly e-bulletin to keep everyone involved with ActEarly up-to-date with all our latest news. We have fellow researchers, exploring the complexities of ant communication, to thank for its title. It was they who discovered that ants not only pick up information through their antennae but also use them to convey social signals. It was the first time antennae have been found to be a two-way communication device, rather than just a receptor. So we very much hope that as well reading our news, you will share your updates too – and contribute to our future success. 
Please email with your news, stories, events and notices by the last Friday of the month at 12 noon.

Upcoming opportunities and news

Diary dates

Methods club, 8th June at 2pm with Dr Peter Martin, UCL: Should we abolish statistical significance? 
Sign up here

Born in Bradford Open Space event, 16th June 12.30 - 3pm, drop in to find out about ongoing research projects. 

Current vacancies:

1) Research Associate (ActEarly Evaluation). Closing date: 20th June
2) Public health rapid evaluation senior research fellow. Closing date: 15th June.
3) Public Health Information Analyst. Closing date: 13th June
4) PhD opportunity at UCL. Closing date 24th June.
5) Senior policy and knowledge exchange fellow at York Uni. Closing date: 24th June.
Simon Twite photo

Meet the team

SAY hello to Simon TwiteSimon’s role is part of the NIHR’s national infrastructure to facilitate research in non-NHS settings, as one of a number of Public Health Local Authority Research Support Practitioner posts across the UK. He is based within the Public Health Division in Tower Hamlets council and is funded by the North Thames Clinical Research Network and Queen Mary University, London. His role, he says, broadly speaking, is “to support the local authority to better use and do research that will deliver public health benefit across the London borough of Tower Hamlets.” 
Simon says of his role “What has been really exciting for me this last year has been the opportunity to begin to understand the academic/research environment and to begin to provide an interface between that and local authority colleagues – a huge amount of innovative work is delivered by fellow council officers, and linking this to the exciting research agendas of our academic partners is an important way for us to demonstrate the impact of that work, further our understanding of what works and why, and to use that understanding to further strengthen the work we do to improve the health and well-being of local people.”

Modelling Long-Term Childhood Policy Impacts on Health, Wellbeing and Inequality

The ActEarly modelling team aims to create a “really useful engine” for childhood policy evaluation, which provides credible information about both the long-term benefits and public cost savings. Our model will take short-term effect estimates from childhood intervention studies and extrapolate them into the future to predict the lifetime health, wellbeing and inequality impacts for different children in different circumstances. This will allow comparisons of value-for-money between different kinds of childhood investment at different ages across different parts of government. The modelling team includes researchers at the University of York (Richard Cookson, Ieva Skarda), UCL (George Ploubidis, Eric Brunner, Aase Villadsen), LSE (Miqdad Asaria) and Leeds (Mark Mon Williams) and we are liaising with diverse ActEarly stakeholders to ensure our microsimulation platform is able to produce findings that are as credible, meaningful and useful as possible. The team are currently designing the childhood microsimulation model “LifeSim Childhood”, which models the evolution of key developmental, educational, health and wellbeing outcomes between ages 0-17, for each child in a cohort of children born in the UK. The next steps will involve linking these childhood outcomes to later adulthood social, economic health and wellbeing outcomes, and applying this model to evaluate ActEarly childhood interventions.

Bradford: City of Culture 2025

It was one of those rare moments in life of unbridled joy. At 7.23 pm on 31st May 2022, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and For Some Reason Sport announced on live television the winner of the City of Culture 2025 and City Park erupted in ecstasy. 
Arts and Culture features prominently in our ActEarly wheel of research. We have always recognised that culture is an important wider determinant of health and wellbeing – mental health in particular. 
Over the last two years ActEarly has been working closely with the Bradford2025 team to develop the proposal. The oldest Born in Bradford children will be 18 in 2025 – what a coming of age and what a great opportunity to align the stars of science and arts. Bradford2025 shares the same goal as ActEarly in focusing on early life and young people, and learning how involvement in arts and culture influences our health and wellbeing. We will be working with schools, teenagers and their families to understand how they engage in culture and how we can provide novel approaches to promoting greater involvement in arts and culture.
This is such an exciting announcement. The short video captures the joy – watch out for the two young lads at the front to see what it means and play the Where’s Trevor competition!

Image by <a href="">Katrina_S</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>

ActEarly Food and Healthy weight theme: new strategy 

The Food and Healthy Weight (FHW) theme brings together people with an interest or expertise in enhancing food systems and reducing levels of obesity to promote health amongst children and families. This is a cross cutting theme within ActEarly and includes embedded projects within Healthy Livelihoods, Healthy Places and Healthy Learning. 

Through ongoing collaboration with the boroughs, we have developed a strategy and terms of reference for our cross-cutting theme that was recently presented at the London Executive meeting. 

We have been focusing on building theme capacity, with new qualitative and quantitative research fellows joining the theme in the coming months. We are looking forward to having new full time members of the research team and kick starting the free school meals project with our collaborating partners.

For more information about the theme please visit our website.

Have we got research news for you!

Here is a small snapshot of recent outputs related to ActEarly

The art of Patient and Public Involvement: exploring ways to research and reduce air pollution through art-based community workshops – a reflective paper

Read More

Tower Hamlets Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Policy Process Evaluation: Policy Briefing

Read More

Revised Act Early logic model
View the recording here

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ActEarly are working with local communities, local authorities and other national organisations to understand how we can help families live healthier and more active lives.

This work was supported by the UK Prevention Research Partnership, an initiative funded by UK Research and Innovation Councils, the Department of Health and Social Care (England) and the UK devolved administrations, and leading health research charities. Read more
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