Nationally Integrated Quantitative Understanding of Addiction Harm (NIQUAD) MRC Addiction Research Cluster

The MRC and ESRC have identified addiction as a priority area for research and have put in place a strategy to increase capacity within the UK addiction research base.  Thirty two applications to develop Addiction Research Clusters were submitted to the MRC in 2009 and from that the Universities of Cambridge (Bir, De Angelis), Bristol (Ades, Hickman), York (Godfrey), Glasgow (Hay), and Manchester, led by Millar (NDEC), was one of the 11 succesful applications.

NIQUAD's objective is to enable key public health questions about addiction to be addressed by:

  • Improving, integrating, and harmonising the information base
  • Assessing the quality, precision, validity and consistency of available information
  • Making data accessible to a wider range of expertise
  • Developing methods to better exploit existing /new information sources

This requires parallel work on developing micro (record linkage) and macro integration (evidence synthesis) of available information.  The former strand will integrate administrative and research data at the individual case level to create statistically powerful 'virtual' cohorts that track pathways in and out of treatment, criminal justice, and healthcare, sequencing key events. Evidence synthesis will develop models that link all the available evidence to link and test its consistency and to examine the relationships between parameters.

NIQUAD includes: key experts in surveillance and substance use epidemiology; non-addiction scientists with high-level skills in relevant statistical, mathematical modelling and health economic techniques; and health informatics experts to support the development of data resources to fuel the planned work.