From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

International Collaboration on Complex Interventions

The International Collaboration on Complex Interventions provides infrastructure support for investigators who share an interest in the design and conduct of complex, community-level interventions in population health. It is directed by Dr Penny Hawe, Markin Chair in Health and Society, University of Calgary. Funding of 2.4 million Canadian dollars for six years was awarded in 2004 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Earlier funding, in which we were also co-grant holders, came under a project ‘Understanding and improving the quality of social environments' (CIHR, 100,000 Canadian dollars, 2003-2004).


Our interest is in theory and methods appropriate for interventions in social and physical environments.  The main focus is experiments involving the allocation of some communities to an intervention while other communities act as comparisons but we are also interested in improving how much we can learn from repeatedly studying communities over time (using natural experiments, such as new housing, road building and school programmes). The funds support bringing the collaborators together, resources for the development of common methods or tools, coordinated graduate and post doctoral traineeships, communication infrastructure and program coordination. We also have developed mechanisms for policy and practitioner involvement and knowledge transfer.


The investigators have backgrounds in economics, psychology, epidemiology, biostatistics, sociology, mathematics, education, anthropology, social psychiatry, and history and philosophy of science. ICCI part funded the project on trials in an international context.