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NIHR Outcomes Framework

Four coloured squares showing the different NOF domains: Addressing needs, effective research, economic benefit and productive partnerships. Situated around a circle with the words improving the health and wealth of the nation through research.


The NIHR Outcomes Framework shows the commitments that guide us as we seek to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research.

The framework is a statement of our intended outcomes and a tool for tracking and learning from our progress.

Our priorities

In 2021, we set out our key priorities in Best Research for Best Health: The Next Chapter, and that document outlines how we plan to:

  • address the most pressing health, public health and social care needs of the public
  • increase our contribution to economic prosperity, including our work with the life sciences industry
  • strengthen research capacity, capabilities and careers and encourage an effective, inclusive and collaborative research environment
  • shape a cohesive, globally competitive research system in collaboration with partners from across the public sector, industry, universities and charities and other key stakeholders

These priorities reflect the four domains in the NIHR Outcomes Framework which we have developed to help us track our medium and long-term progress against these priorities and adjust course as needed.

We are a large, multi-faceted and nationally distributed organisation. We work in many ways with multiple organisations across the health and care sector so, in addition to tracking our own progress, a shared and coordinated approach to measuring success is required.

The framework was developed in collaboration with over 400 partners and stakeholders across NIHR, government, the research community, health and social care system, patients and the public. This ensures that it focuses on the areas most important to the people we serve.

Understanding the framework

The framework groups the outcomes we are aiming to achieve into four domains. Over time, we will collect and publish evidence under each domain to publicly share our progress.

In using the framework, it is important to note:

  • when we use the word ‘research’ this encompasses health, public health and social care research
  • when we use the phrase ‘health and social care’, this includes public health
  • when we use the word 'public', this includes patients, people who draw on social care services, carers and communities

The NIHR Outcomes Framework is a living tool and will evolve in response to the changing environment. We welcome discussion on our evidence and on our approach. Please get in touch with us by contacting

Addressing Needs

NIHR research prioritises the health and social care needs of the public, with a focus on under-served people and communities. It takes place in diverse regions and settings and includes a diverse participant base. Research findings are widely cited and available to all. They result in innovative products and services and evidence-led changes to policy and practice.

Read our domain report on addressing needs.

Economic Benefit

NIHR research improves people’s health and wellbeing, resulting in greater productivity and reducing demand for health and social care while improving the efficiency, quality, safety and resilience of the system. Part of a research system that attracts investment and supports job creation, NIHR also helps SMEs to innovate and thrive.

A domain report about economic benefit will be available in the future.

Effective Research

NIHR builds the capacity and capability of the research system, nationally and in low and middle income countries, promoting collaboration across disciplines and specialisms. Evidence is visible to and used by health and care professionals and the public. NIHR leads by example by encouraging and enabling workforce diversity and inclusive and sustainable research practices.

A domain report about effective research will be available in the future.

Productive Partnerships

NIHR research is shaped by patients, service users, carers and communities, which helps improve its relevance, quality and impact. At the forefront of international research, NIHR collaborates with partners from across the public sector, universities, the charity sector and industry to create a cohesive research system that expedites the translation of discoveries into improved treatments and services.

A domain report about productive partnerships will be available in the future.