Our structure

The NIHR is a whole health research system designed to fund leading-edge scientific research, drive faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and create the best possible conditions for inward investment by the life-sciences sector.

We organise our work under six broad themes and are structured so that our health research activities can be managed through four complementary work strands:

  • Infrastructure: providing the facilities and people for a thriving research environment
  • Faculty: supporting the individuals carrying out and participating in research
  • Research: commissioning and funding research
  • Systems: creating unified, streamlined and simple systems for managing research and its outputs.

We work in partnership with many sectors including other Government funders, academia, charities and industry.

The NIHR is widely distributed and covers all health and care therapeutic areas - look up NIHR in your area by postcode or specialty.

NIHR's health research system

The diagram below shows our health research system, with the collective interests of patients and the public at its core.

How to view Click on each section of the diagram to reveal the next layer of our structure. Hover over the links in the revealed list to see a brief description. Click on a link to find more information about that part of the NIHR. Use the back button to return to the main diagram. 

Patients andPublicNHS TrustsUniversitiesResearchResearch ProgrammesResearch SchoolsFacultySeniorInvestigatorsInvestigatorsAssociatesTraineesInfrastructureClinical ResearchNetworkClinical Research Facilities,Centres and UnitsSystemsResearch InformationFaster EasierClinical Research
  • Research
    • Research Programmes
    • Research Schools
  • Systems
    • Research Information
    • Faster Easier Clinical Research
  • Faculty
    • Senior Investigators
    • Investigators
    • Associates
    • Trainees
  • Infrastructure
    • Clinical Research Network
    • Clinical Research Facilities, Centres and Units

Senior Investigators are the NIHR’s pre-eminent researchers and represent the country’s most outstanding leaders of clinical and applied health and social care research.

Investigators are Faculty members who are leading and doing research. This includes all research staff working on a research project: lead researchers, other senior researchers and research assistants.

Associates are Faculty members who support research led by others and receive NIHR funding as part of their salary. They include the following individuals:

  • clinical and clinical support staff
  • scientific, laboratory and technical staff
  • study facilitators, study practitioners and data managers
  • RM&G staff and other CLRN staff.

The NIHR Clinical Research Network makes it possible for all patients and health professionals across England to participate in relevant clinical trials.