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The National Research Register (NRR) Archive [Search Archive]

About the archive

About the National Research Register

Information for researchers

What is it?

The archive is a searchable copy of the records that used to be held in the National Research Register (NRR) Projects Database. It was created using the final issue of the NRR published in October 2007, based on records collected up to September 2007.

The archive does not include the MRC Clinical Trials Directory nor the CRD Register of Reviews. These used to be bundled in with the National Research Register Projects Database.

The National Research Register was a public database of ongoing and recently completed research projects funded by, or of interest to, the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS). [See item below]

What time period does the archive cover?

The archived database contains a comprehensive record of publicly-supported health research projects from early 2000 up to and including September 2007.

The National Research Register evolved out of a pilot project in 1998. Some of the records in the pilot referred to projects from the early 1990s and these records were incorporated into the Register. Most NHS organisations in England, Scotland and Wales became regular contributors to the National Research Register by early 2000 and this continued up to and including September 2007.

How can incorrect information be amended or removed from the archive?

The archive is just that: a fixed copy of the final version of the National Research Register and there is no intention to update this historic data.

However, amendments to the archive will be considered if the reason for change was valid at the time of the final NRR data submission. For example, if data violating personal privacy were submitted in error in September 2007 then that would constitute a valid reason for amending a record. However, if an organisation name changes in 2008 this is not a reason to amend records in the archive.

Valid reasons for amending or removing archived records records include: incorrect project description, project never started, concern over publication of sensitive information and correcting false or misleading information. Section 4 of the NRR guidance document described the Register's policy on sensitive information such as commercially-funded research, information that could compromise intellectual property rights and information that could "provoke public sensitivity" such as animal research.

To request an amendment or deletion please contact enquiries@nihr.ac.uk.

Where can I find information on current NHS research?

The NIHR CRN Portfolio is a database of clinical research studies being undertaken in the NHS, that are supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) in England. Details of clinical research studies which meet specific eligibility criteria are recorded in a database known as the UK Clinical Research Network Portfolio, which comprises the NIHR CRN Portfolio in England and the corresponding Portfolios of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

UK Clinical Research Network Study Portfolio

What was the National Research Register and what type of research projects did it include?

The National Research Register (NRR) was created to provide a public, searchable listing of health research activity in the UK funded by, or of interest to, the National Health Service. Its original aims included:

  • identifying unpublished research - particularly important to those undertaking systematic reviews
  • providing early warning on research which may lead to important findings
  • helping to improve the uptake and participation in clinical trials
  • identifying and bringing together researchers between and across related areas of research
  • helping to avoid unnecessary duplication in research

An updated version of the National Research Register was assembled and published by Update Software Ltd on behalf of the Department of Health every three months on the web and on CD-ROM after collating the latest data from contributing organisations.

The National Research Register defined a research project as the attempt to derive generalisable new knowledge by addressing clearly defined questions with systematic and rigorous methods. The Register published records of such research projects if they had a title, an estimated end date (or at least an end date for known funding) and a local contact person with a contact address (conditions set out in the NRR guidance document ). The Register should not have included records of audit, student research below PhD level or research budget items such as equipment grants, funded chairs and other awards, although such records were occasionally submitted.

There was a contractual obligation on NHS organisations receiving R&D support funding to make data submissions every three months. Whilst the National Research Register welcomed records of charity-funded and commercially-funded projects, these weren't often included in the data submissions it received, and so the Register was primarily one of publicly-funded research.

Who used to submit records to the National Research Register?

Over 350 organisations were registered as National Research Register "data providers". Research organisations (typically the research and development departments of NHS organisations), rather than individual researchers, used to submit research project records every three months. There was a contractual obligation on NHS organisations receiving R&D support funding to make data submissions every three months.

Why do so many records appear to be duplicates referring to the same research project?

The National Research Register Projects database was an amalgam of records that were submitted by over 350 organisations ("data providers"). Often, two or more data providers submitted records for the same project. This usually occurred because both a funder of a project (eg a research programme) and the implementer of a project (a research centre) submitted records. The situation was more complicated for multi-centred projects because all implementers (lead centres in charge of the project and participating centres who were cooperating with the lead centre) submitted records of their own involvement in the project.

NRR records were therefore classified under four main categories according to the relationship of the data provider to the project:

  • NRR Records from Regional and National Research Programmes: records submitted by the various health department research commissioning bodies and charities commissioning research, such as:
    • National Institute for Health Research Policy Research Programme
    • Chief Scientist Office (in Scotland)
    • Wales Office of Research and Development for Health and Social Care
    • National Coordinating Centre for Health Technology Assessment
    • National Coordinating Centre for R&D Programme On Service Delivery and Organistion (NCCSDO)
    • The BUPA Foundation
  • NRR Records from Research Centres: Single-Centre Projects: records of research activity from NHS organisations, health centres and universities which had been coded by data providers as single-centre projects.
  • NRR Records from Research Centres: Lead Centres for Multi-Centre Projects: records of research activity from NHS organisations, health centres and universities which had been coded by data providers as being for the lead centre of multi-centre projects.
  • NRR Records from Research Centres: Participating Centres for Multi-Centre Projects: records of research activity from NHS organisations, health centres and universities which had been coded by data providers as being for participating (not lead) centres of multi-centre projects.

How did details of my project end up on the National Research Register?

Your local organisation (usually the research and development department of an NHS Trust or NHS Board) used to be responsible for sending details of projects receiving R&D support funding to the NRR. R&D departments collected details of your project as part of the R&D approval process. R&D Departments should have checked that you agreed for your information to be sent to the NRR ; this was usually indicated on your R&D / ethics application forms.

Does listing my trial in the National Research Register satisfy ICMJE requirements for trial registration?

No, the National Research Register was a general register for all types of research funded by, or of interest to, the health service. It was not designed to be a dedicated trials register and therefore did not follow the requirements of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) for trials registers.