Annual Statistics

Each year the NIHR collects and publishes annual performance statistics that demonstrate how the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supports health and social care research in England.  We measure our success and impact in a number of ways. Please note these figures relate to the period between April 2019 and March 2020. 


Record numbers are taking part 

732,176 participants took part in studies across England which is the equivalent of 2,005 participants per day. This brings the total number of participants recruited over the last 5 years to 3,599,944. 

These participation figures were achieved by every NHS trust across England (100%) recruit participants into Network supported studies for the second year running.

Primary care and public health lead the way

The highest recruiting specialty was primary care, with 151,868 participants recruited.  

Professor Philip Evans, National Specialty Lead for primary care said: “It’s great to see primary care as the leading recruiting specialty within the NIHR CRN. Recruiting over 150,000 participants into a large number of primary care studies is a great collaborative effort between study teams, the local CRNs and their GP practices. It is a testament to the commitment, hard work and effort that those practices and other primary care recruiters put into their research work.”

It was also a record year for recruiting participants into public health research - with 114,139 participants taking part in studies, an increase of 16,568 from the previous financial year.

Dr Jane West, National Specialty Lead for public health at the CRN said: “Since 2014 the CRN has worked hard to engage with public health researchers to provide research delivery support and develop the public health portfolio. It’s great to see the result of that work, as we continue with our commitment to supporting the development of the public health and prevention evidence base.”

An extensive system of support

We supported the delivery of 6,052 studies at sites both within the NHS and in other health and social care sites across England. Over the period, the Network provided support to 2,103 new studies.

Recruitment targets

With our support, 87% of non-commercial studies and 70% of commercial studies recruited to time and target.

Life sciences studies continue to flourish

In 2019/20, more commercial studies than ever before were supported by the CRN - studies sponsored by the life sciences industry. Participants were recruited into 1,166 commercial studies on the portfolio.  A total of 28,832 participants took part in commercial research supported by the CRN. 

Sine Littlewood, Director of Business Development and Marketing (interim) at CRN says: "Another productive year supporting life sciences research. The number of commercial studies on the portfolio has increased, along with the number of studies that we have recruited patients to. This is a tremendous achievement and testament to our partnerships with the life science industry. Together we have enabled almost twenty-nine thousand people in the UK to take part in these studies." 

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