Starting 2017, Unit research is based on a thematic approach in order to maximise cross-Programme fertilization and to create more opportunities for synergy of skills in the pursuit of the Unit goals. Following internal and external consultations, leadership activities and delivery of science were restructured to three Themes. Theme leaders provide overarching strategic leadership to the research Programmes within the Themes, thereby ensuring there is collaboration and added value. The Programmes within or across the Themes will address specific research questions.

The three Themes, which were approved by the MRC Theme Advisory Group (TAG) in July 2015, are:
1. Research on the changing HIV/AIDS Epidemic (ROCHAE): leader to be appointed
2. Research on Endemic, Neglected, Emerging and Re-emerging infections (ENERI) led by Prof Alison Elliott.
3. Research to understand the risk factors and control of NCDs (STOP-NCD); led by Prof. Moffat Nyirenda