Our mission and core workstreams

The NIHR was established in 2006 under the government's health research strategy Best Research for Best Health to "create a health research system in which the NHS supports outstanding individuals, working in world-class facilities, conducting leading-edge research focused on the needs of patients and the public". Since that time, we have transformed research in and for the NHS and helped to shape the health research landscape more broadly. 

Our mission is unchanged: to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. We deliver against this mission through five core workstreams.


1. We fund, support and deliver high quality research

At the core of NIHR is a commitment to fund high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care. Our research funding schemes – programmes, units and schools – deliver a coherent programme of response mode and commissioned research.

2. We engage and involve patients, carers and the public

The NIHR engages and involves patients, carers and the public in all the processes by which research is identified, prioritised, designed, conducted, evaluated and disseminated. We do this in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of our research.

Our pioneering partnership with these communities has become one of the hallmarks of NIHR and is considered to be world-leading.

3. We attract, train and support the best researchers

The NIHR is the largest funder of health research training in the UK. We invest in academic career pathways for health and care researchers from all professional backgrounds, building the capacity and capabilities needed to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future.

Our collegiate ethos extends across our health research and health research delivery workforce.

4. We invest in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce

The NIHR’s sustained investment in people, facilities and technology has transformed the health and care system’s ability to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services. This infrastructure supports research funded by NIHR and by our partners.

Our people encompass internationally renowned investigators and a delivery workforce of doctors, nurses, midwives and other professionals.

5. We partner with other public funders, charities and industry

The NIHR works with UKRI, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy. We do this both to achieve our aims and to improve the UK research ecosystem, thus playing our part in supporting the UK’s world-leading life sciences sector. We work with a diverse range of industry sectors and provide extensive support to small and medium-sized enterprises.

6. We fund applied global health research and training

In addition to our national role, the NIHR supports high-quality applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low and middle-income countries using Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding.


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