NIHR at 10

In 2016, NIHR commissioned RAND Europe and the Policy Institute at King’s College London to collate and synthesise 100 examples of positive change arising from NIHR’s support of health and care research in its first 10 years.

These examples were derived from a wide range of sources including primary literature, interviews, REF 2014 case studies, NIHR’s own and third-party publications, and were extensively validated and referenced.

The resulting report, The National Institute for Health Research at 10 years: An impact synthesis -100 Impact case studies, provides detailed case studies grouped under 10 thematic headings.

The case studies have been codified into an NIHR Activity and Achievements finder, which provides:

  • Case study titles, impact summaries, chapter references to full versions of each of the 100 impact case study narratives and a breakdown by NIHR funding stream / institution / region / scale / Health Research Classification System health categories
  • Brief descriptions, keywords and message-led sentences describing the 10 overarching impact themes (each of which contains 10 case study narratives).

The report has also been summarised in an infographic

The NIHR approach to impact assessment continues to develop working with a wide range of collaborators.

The NIHR Dissemination Centre critically appraises health research from both within and beyond the NIHR to identify the most reliable, relevant and significant findings. The Dissemination Centre disseminates these findings as actionable, accessible, and trustworthy information in the form of Signals, Highlights and Themed Reviews.


2016 marked a decade since we were established. Throughout the last ten years we have contributed significantly to the health and wealth of the nation and we are now the most comprehensive research system in the world.

We support 'bench to bedside' research for the benefit of patients and the economy. we work with patients and the public to shape our research agenda, finding new ways of preventing, identifying and treating ill health, evaluating the effectiveness and impact of new healthcare treatments, and ensuring that the best possible evidence is available to inform decisions about health and social care.

We attract investment into the UK by supporting partnerships with life science companies, including small and medium enterprises, and charities, and build capacity and leadership in the research workforce.

NIHR at 10 logo

NIHR at 10 conference

To mark our tenth anniversary we held a conference in May 2016. Our conference plenary sessions were chaired in the morning by Lord Ara Darzi and in the afternoon by Sir Alex Markham. Delegates could visit the ‘NIHR Gallery’, ‘Meet the NIHR’, and experience some of the cutting-edge technologies and devices developed by NIHR-funded researchers.

The programme included keynote speeches by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, the former Minister for Life Sciences, George Freeman MP, the Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Chris Whitty and the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, who launched the ‘NIHR Impact Synthesis’ from RAND Europe and the Policy Institute at King's College London.  

Simon Denegri, NIHR’s National Director for Patients and the Public and Chair of INVOLVE, led a panel discussion on public involvement and participation, and science writer and broadcaster, Vivienne Parry, discussed the value NIHR provides to charities, the NHS, the life sciences industry and the small business sectors.

Dr Russell Hamilton, Department of Health, chaired the final panel debate on the future direction and development of the NIHR, asking questions provided by conference attendees.

The final words were provided by Lord Howe, who paid tribute to Dame Sally and Dr Hamilton, as he described the difference NIHR has made to the health and care research environment, both nationally and globally, and how the world-class research NIHR funds and supports is improving the health and wealth of the nation.

Meet the NIHR – Experts, specialists, clinicians and nurses as well the people that the NIHR works and partners with, converged in four thematic zones:

NIHR Gallery - The story of the NIHR using a range of visuals.

Building the NIHR - Displays of the ‘when, what and why’ of each milestone that created the NIHR over the last decade.

NIHR now - A showcase of ground-breaking research in a series of rolling posters and via a cinema pod.

The path forward - Highlighting the future public health and health system challenges facing the nation, and providing the views and thoughts of research leaders on how NIHR’s future work and direction could help provide solutions.

The conference generated a significant volume of Twitter activity around its hashtag - #NIHRconf. Engagement was high with nearly 3 million impressions and a total audience just short of 400,000.

The conference sessions were filmed and the videos are available here.

You can see the PowerPoint slides of the presentations given by Dame Sally and Professor Chris Whitty.

See below for a selection of photographs from the day: