Our health is shaped by the world around us: the homes we live in, the places we work, the support we have access to in tough times. When our world is designed with health in mind, communities can thrive.

We know a lot about the factors that lead to good and bad health, but far too little is known about how to design our spaces and systems to provide what each and every one of us needs to be healthy.

Last year, we began advocating for the creation of an innovation and research centre that would work across government and civic society, encouraging partnerships, transdisciplinary and community participation approaches to generate and test new ideas to improve health and address inequalities. As an independent public health body, the centre could convene experts from multiple fields alongside representatives from communities across the UK, providing clear, impartial, evidence-based leadership and advice.

But what kinds of issues would this body be tasked with and what should be prioritised?

Over the coming weeks, this feature will release a series of interviews from Michael Marmot, John Wright, Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Mary Darking, Anne Johnson, Richard Jones and James Wilsdon, who discuss their experiences before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and how we can transform public health research. From the importance of data when it comes to tackling health issues to why we need to stop telling people what their problems are and listen, to support people-powered community approaches that build trust with the public - discover how we can build a more inclusive approach to public health innovation and research.