Clinical Research Network

The NIHR Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre manages the Clinical Research Network (CRN) on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care. The CRN makes it possible for patients and health professionals across England to participate in clinical research studies, in both the NHS and in the wider health and social care environment.

The CRN provides the infrastructure that allows high-quality clinical research and meets the costs of using NHS staff that support research and provides specialist training so that patients can be confident that research is being delivered by trained, experienced NHS staff.

The CRN also meet the costs of using NHS facilities, such as scanners and x-rays that are needed in the course of a study, so that research is not subsidised with funding that has been provided for patient care.

At the heart of CRN activities is the NIHR CRN Portfolio of studies. This consists of high-quality clinical research studies that are eligible for consideration for support from the CRN in England. 

We also provide the Study Support Service that helps researchers and the life sciences industry plan, set up and deliver high quality research to time and target in the both the NHS and in the wider health and social care environment, across England. We provide this service for all studies eligible for our support, regardless of location, study type, study size, therapy or research area. Whether your study is medical, diagnostic, pharmaceutical, bio-tech or is looking at healthy populations or people with social care needs, we can help.      

Find out more about our performance and key statistics relating to our activity.


Leadership Team  


Jonathan Sheffield OBE, Chief Executive Officer

Jonathan trained as a doctor at Dundee University, before following a career as a histopathologist at Yeovil District Hospital, where he was instrumental in developing its research capabilities. In 2003 he became Medical Director for the Trust, before moving on to University Hospitals Bristol – again as Medical Director.

In 2009, Jonathan was awarded an OBE for services to the NHS. In 2011 he was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians’ Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine – its highest honour – for his contribution in the area of clinical research delivery.

A passionate advocate for clinical research, Jonathan’s ambition is for participation in a suitable research study to be a standard treatment option, open to all NHS patients.


John Sitzia, Chief Operating Officer

John joined the Network in October 2006 as part of the team leading the development and introduction of the Comprehensive Clinical Research Network, and worked in a number of Executive Team roles before being appointed to his current post in 2011. John is responsible for finance and contracts, corporate governance, performance, planning and reporting, and the management of the National Coordinating Centre.

Before joining the Network, John worked for 15 years in NHS Research & Development, initially as a clinical researcher in cancer care and lymphoedema in a Nursing Development Unit and then as an NHS research manager and director.



Matt Cooper, Business Development and Marketing Director

Dr Matt Cooper was appointed as the CRN Business Development and Marketing Director in February 2015 having previously been the Life-sciences Development Director since June 2014.

Matt gained a PhD in molecular virology in 1997 before joining AstraZeneca UK as a Clinical Research Scientist and then Study Manager. Over the next five years he managed phase II and III studies in a variety of therapy areas. In 2003 he returned to academia first in a Clinical Trials Unit at an NHS Foundation Trust, and later a Musculoskeletal Disease trials group at the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine.

He joined the Cancer Specialty within the NIHR Clinical Research Network in December 2006 as Principal Fellow for Clinical Trials and was appointed as Assistant Director in 2009. In this role Matt helped to improve patient recruitment by the Network to the extent that one in five patients diagnosed with cancer now participate in clinical research – a figure without compare in any other country. He was also influential in developing alliances between industry and academic researchers to explore innovative uses for new compounds – an initiative he hopes to extend into new therapy areas in his current role.



Nick Lemoine, Medical Director

Professor Nick Lemoine is the Medical Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, having joined the Executive Team in May 2014. His primary role is to direct the Specialty Cluster Leads and Specialty National Leads in the development of strategic and implementation plans to support the delivery of high quality research studies by a well trained workforce. His senior team scope the implications of emerging technologies and innovations for the Network, exploiting the wealth of intelligence and experience in the five universities that constitute the Alliance Partnership (Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Imperial College and King’s College London).

Nick is also Director of the Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London and Director of Research & Development for Cancer at Barts Health NHS Trust, the largest NHS Trust in the country.

Among other commitments, he is the Chair of Trustees of the Medical Research Foundation (the MRC’s independent charity) and the Chair of the Research Advisory Boards for Prostate Cancer UK and Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, as well as Chair of the NIHR i4i Challenge Award Panel.


Clare Morgan, Research Delivery Director

Clare is responsible for Research Delivery across the Network, this includes national oversight and performance management of the research portfolio, including commercial and non-commercial research across all Specialties. The Directorate is responsible for policy strategy and initiatives associated with improving delivery of research, from study set up to closure.

Her role focuses on proactively addressing the challenges in delivering the portfolio of research, supporting an effective interface between the Coordinating Centre and Local Clinical Research Networks, and performance improvement in the delivery of research.

Clare was previously Director for Industry and General Manager of the Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network (DeNDRoN) within the Network. She also brings significant experience of commercial and academic clinical research to the role, gained through positions in contract research organisations, the pharmaceutical industry and within universities.


Imogen Shillito, Director of Stakeholder Engagement and Communications

Imogen Shillito is Director of Stakeholder Engagement and Communications at the NIHR Clinical Research Network. Imogen joined the Clinical Research Network in October 2015 and is responsible for the Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Directorate, which includes Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement, NHS Engagement and Communications.

Imogen has a 20 year career in healthcare policy and communications. She has previously occupied senior roles in the NHS, the research-based patient group sector, the Department of Health and in the life sciences industry.


Contact us

NIHR Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre (CRNCC)

Leeds Office
21 Queen Street

Tel: 0113 343 2314
Fax: 0113 343 0336


London Office
Minerva House
5 Montague Close

Tel: 020 3328 6700
Fax: 020 7636 5138

If you are experiencing difficulty with an NIHR Clinical Research Network system please contact the Service Portal or call  us on 020 7333 5984 or email