NIHR infrastructure

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The NIHR provides the support and facilities the NHS needs for first-class research by funding a range of infrastructure facilities.

The NIHR infrastructure includes:

Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs)
The 20 BRCs conduct and support translational research to transform scientific breakthroughs into life-saving treatments for patients.

Clinical Research Facilities for Experimental Medicine (CRFs)
CRFs provide purpose-built environments for patient-centred research where clinical researchers are able to make use of cutting-edge clinical facilities, technologies and expertise and have access to patients. They support collaborations between basic and clinical scientists, which help to ensure that advances in research feed through into improvements in healthcare.

Clinical Research Network (CRN)
The CRN makes it possible for patients and health professionals to participate in relevant research. The networks support the set-up and timely delivery of commercial and non-commercial studies in the NHS in England. This includes advice on study feasibility, streamlined NHS permissions and effective patient recruitment. The CRN comprises 15 Local Clinical Research Networks (LCRNs) that cover the length and breadth of England. Each LCRN delivers research across 30 clinical specialties including: Cancer; Stroke; Mental Health; Diabetes; Medicines for Children; Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases; and Primary Care.

Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs)
CLAHRCs bring together universities and their surrounding NHS organisations, including primary care, to conduct applied health research that is transferable across the NHS to provide the highest quality patient care and outcomes

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMCs)
ECMCs are funded in partnership with Cancer Research UK. The centres focus on speeding up the process of cancer drug development and the search for cancer biomarkers to diagnose cancer, predict the aggressiveness of the disease, or show whether a drug will be effective in a specific patient and at what dose.

MedTech and In Vitro Diagnostic Co-operatives (MICs)
MICs build expertise and capacity in the NHS to develop new medical technologies and provide evidence on commercially-supplied in vitro diagnostic (IVD) tests. The MICs replace the NIHR Healthcare Technology Co-operatives (HTCs) and NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Co-operatives (DECs), incorporating and retaining the remits of both.

Patient Safety Translational Research Centres (PSTRCs)
PSTRCs conduct and support research to investigate ways to improve the safety, quality and effectiveness of the services that the NHS provides to its patients.

The MRC/NIHR National Phenome Centre
The Medical Research Council (MRC)/NIHR National Phenome Centre enables scientists to better understand and tackle diseases that are triggered by environmental as well as genetic causes, and to develop strategies for their prevention and treatment. It uses nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry technology to give the most accurate readings to date of the exact chemical make-up of people’s blood and urine.

NIHR BioResource 
The NIHR BioResource for Translational Research in Common and Rare Diseases (NIHR BioResource) is a national resource of patients and members of the general population who have volunteered to be called up for research based on their genotype and phenotype.

NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative (HIC)
The NIHR HIC has been set up to deliver high quality data in five key therapeutic areas across five of the largest university hospital trusts, each of which hosts a BRC. 

NIHR National Biosample Centre 
The NIHR National Biosample Centre provides high throughput and high quality biosample processing, storage and retrieval services to for NIHR-supported research, and research funded by partners of the Department of Health, such as the MRC, charities and industry.

UKCRC Tissue Directory
The UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) Tissue Directory is a free online resource that catalogues the different types of human sample resources across the UK (biobank, cohort, biorepository, clinical trial etc). The directory has characterized over 180 sample resources, hosting over 400 sample collections, covering 136 diseases and counting.

NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI)
NOCRI provides potential partners, including the life sciences industry and charities, with a direct and simplified route to a wide range of experimental medicine facilities and expert NIHR investigators. NOCRI works with organisations to help them navigate this infrastructure and, where required, form partnerships and collaborations to bring new treatments to patients faster.

Translational Research Collaborations (TRCs)
TRCs bring together world-class health researchers within designated BRCs to effectively pull discoveries from the country’s world-leading basic and translational research into real benefits for patients, share their considerable resources and world-leading expertise to improve treatment and care, and to maximise the impact of NIHR investment. The collaborations also play an important role in collaborating with the life sciences industry.