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NIHR Research Activity League Table

What is the League Table?

Each year, the NIHR Clinical Research Network publishes the NIHR Research Activity League Table. It provides a picture of research activity in all NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts and GP practices in England. The table data includes how much clinical research is happening, where, in what types of NHS provider, and involving how many patients.

Find out where your local NHS trust or clinical commissioning group (CCG) region features on this year's NIHR Research Activity League Table. 

This year (2018/19) the league table reveals that 50 per cent of NHS trusts across England increased their research activity during 2018/19.

61 per cent of NHS CCG* regions across England have also seen an increase in research activity.

This has given more than 870,250 participants access to better treatments and care during 2018/19, the highest number since records began. Read all of the NIHR CRN's annual statistics for 2018/19.

*For the purposes of the league table display, data relating to research in GP practices has been aggregated by NHS CCG, i.e. the data displayed for a CCG reflects the total research activity for GP practices within the geographical area covered by that CCG.

A personal message from Jonathan Sheffied, NIHR Clinical Research Network, Chief Executive Officer

“It’s been a fantastic year for health and care research across England, with 100% of trusts supporting research studies, providing patients with more opportunities than ever before to take part in vital research which improves future treatment and care.
"The number of patients taking part in research this year is a significant step towards meeting the NHS Long Term Plan, of one million people being registered as interested in taking part in research by 2024. I would like to thank all those hard working, NHS staff across the country, who are supporting the delivery of research on top of their other clinical duties. We couldn’t achieve these results without you.”

View the NIHR Research Activity League Table 2018/19.


Eilidh Ho enrolled her newborn son, Finlay into an NIHR-funded clinical trial called ‘The Softened Water for Eczema Prevention’ (SOFTER) trial being supported by league table leaders, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. The study is testing whether using water softeners from birth will help reduce the risk of a child developing Eczema.

Eilidh says:
“I would 100% encourage people to take part in research. You get great care and attention throughout the study and a trial is something that will hopefully benefit a lot of people in the long run and we've found it a privilege to take part.”

Read more about Eilidh's story.
Read more about the SOFTER trial.

Mckenzie Carr was the first participant to sign up to a new research study taking place at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) which looks at how insulin can impact the effectiveness of growth hormones in children.

9 year old Mckenzie, from Norwich, was considered much smaller than normal when he was born. Weighing just 4 pounds 7 ounces at birth, he had trouble feeding and failed to put on weight at the normal rate for newborns.

Parents, Carla-Jane and Kieran Carr, tried everything to get him to feed normally then, after a year of struggling, Mckenzie was diagnosed with Silver Russell Syndrome (SRS) which is a very rare congenital disorder. SRS typically restricts a baby’s growth in the womb as well as after they are born and it is estimated to affect only 1 in 100,000 people.

Read more about Mckenzie's story.

One of NIHR's priorities is to increase opportunities for patients to participate in research by bringing research closer to where people live. Two trusts in Greater Manchester are collaborating to do just that, by delivering an 'outreach trial' which runs simultaneously at both sites. 

Cancer patient, Jackie Harrison is taking part in the trial looking at the effectiveness of a new drug designed for patients with early stage breast cancer.

2018-19 headlines
Research Activity League Table

Where does your trust feature on the league table? View the NIHR Research Activity League Table 2018/19.

Go to our Key Statistics page to find out more about our performance. 

Top for the number of studies

Top of the league table for the number of studies supported this year is Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, a change to the top of the table for the first time in eight years with 567 studies supported by the trust (an increase of 34 studies on 2017/18).

Top for the biggest increase in research activity

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust features at the top of the league table for the biggest year-on-year increase in number of studies; up 68 studies to 466.
Followed by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust with an increase of 55 studies to 468.

Top for commercial research activity

For the sixth year in a row Barts Health NHS Trust is top of the table for research activity in the number of commercial research studies, supporting 153 studies.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is also top of the table for the biggest increase in research activity for commercial studies, up 24 studies to 129 studies.

Participant recruitment up by more than 140,000 on 2018/19 topping out at 870,250

More than 870,000 people participated in NIHR Clinical Research Network supported studies - the highest number since records began.
Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust topped the table in terms of participants recruited this year with 37,122 participants recruited.
Followed by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who recruited 11,348 more patients than last year, bringing their total to 32,285.

More people than ever are recruited into commercial contract studies.

The NIHR Clinical Research Network helped recruit 46,064 people into commercial contract studies across England.
For the second year Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust topped the table in terms of participants recruited into commercial studies, with 4,615 participants recruited.
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust saw the largest increase in the number of participants recruited into commercial contract studies with 4,060 participants recruited (487 in 2017/18).

Research in the Community

NHS Oxfordshire CCG region supported the most studies with 58 studies for the fourth year in a row.
NHS Sheffield CCG region grew its portfolio of supported studies by 15 studies, ensuring its place as top CCG region to increase research activity with 37 supported studies.

CCG regions supporting commercial research

A 17 per cent increase in the number of commercial contract research being conducted by CCG regions than they did last year. 
NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG region tops the table by delivering 13 studies during 2018/19.

Giving people the opportunity to participate in commercial contract studies provides them with access to the very latest drugs and medical devices available. 
NHS Salford CCG region topped the table in terms of participant recruitment into commercial studies in CCG regions with 1,104 participants.