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Our impact

Read more about the difference our research makes to people’s lives, the health and social care system and the economy.

Our research helps turn discoveries into new or improved treatments, diagnostics, medical technologies and services. It provides those working in the NHS, public health and social care with the evidence they need to better support patients, the public and people who need care.

The UK led the world in tackling COVID-19 through research and the NIHR was integral to this. We co-funded and supported the research behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as well as dexamethasone, the first effective treatment of COVID-19. Read more about the NIHR’s response to COVID-19.

In the last 10 years, our researchers have reported more than 6,500 instances where their research has influenced health and care policy.

Our Making a Difference stories are examples of how our research is improving health and care. Read our Impact Vision page to find out how we understand, learn and improve how NIHR activities collectively contribute to making a difference.

Economic impact

The economic return to society from the NIHR is very high. We estimate that for every £1 invested in NIHR research, society receives £19 of benefits. This includes direct health benefits such as new treatments, profits to UK firms undertaking research funded or supported by the NIHR, and spillover returns to the wider economy including indirect health benefits.

We work to make the UK a place for home-grown small and medium enterprises to thrive, as well as attracting investment from the global life sciences industry.

Commercial research conducted from 2016 to 2019 within our Clinical Research Network created more than 47,000 jobs across England and added £8 billion to the UK economy.

Wider impact

The health of people in other parts of the world is also an important focus of our work. Since 2016, we have used UK AID from the UK Government to support applied global health research in more than 50 low and middle income countries.

Read more information about our impact on health and wealth, including 100 examples of positive change, in the 2016 RAND report. Our annual reports also provide data on our activities as well as key milestones.