Set standards and guidance

We aim to make research faster and easier so that the findings can benefit patients more quickly. We are working with partners including the Department of Health (DH) and the Health Research Authority (HRA) to simplify and streamline procedures to improve the initiation and delivery of research.

Key steps include:  

  • Making NHS providers’ performance in starting and delivering research transparent and accountable, through new NIHR contracts. The contracts now include a clinical trials a 70-day benchmark for the recruitment of first patients to trials, and performance in this area has affected funding since 2014.
  • Providing support to help the NHS improve its performance, through the NIHR Research Support Services (RSS) Framework. We published our RSS Framework in March 2011, as part of the Government's Plan for Growth. We also published our Framework tools and documents in 2013. The RSS Framework is a set of tools and guidelines to support a consistent and streamlined approach to managing health research studies in the NHS. The RSS Framework can help providers of NHS services to meet the 70 day benchmark in new NHS contracts for recruiting the first patient to clinical trials and to organise themselves to have the capacity to manage trials from end to end, helping them deliver to time and target.
  • Working with the HRA to simplify approval processes for ethical research, including implementing an HRA unified approval process for research in the NHS which came into effect in March 2016.
  • Leadership Support and Development for R&D Managers and Directors through the NIHR Leadership Support and Development programme. The programme encourages the development of pro-active leadership by R&D managers as key contributors to our aims through their vital role in supporting and enabling research in the NHS.