We have built up a strong programme of work in health systems research and research ethics; including in-depth work in Coastal Kenya, large scale cross Kenya comparative studies, and core roles in international collaborative research projects, research networks and meetings. Combining research themes, methodological approaches and collaborative activities has allowed us to balance depth with breadth, local specificity with (inter)national transferability, and research outputs with policy maker and practitioner needs. Through interweaving capacity strengthening into all activities, we have developed a world class group of social scientists. The department provides strategic direction to the Community Engagement Platform, and supports work across the programme, supporting research ethics and social science aspects of projects led by other departments. We work closely with the group in Nairobi on Health Systems Research, contributing to research focused on health services, economics, policy and on the management environment of health facilities.