Our operating principles


NIHR’s work is guided by five operating principles, which build and strengthen our culture.


We strive to maximise the impact of our funding. We are committed to prioritising the questions that are most important to patients and evidence-users, and the areas of research where the need and opportunity are greatest and the least progress is being made. We look for ways to accelerate the translation of research outputs into benefits for patients, carers, the public and the health and care system.


The quality of our researchers and research outputs is world leading, and we operate to high standards of integrity. Our funding is awarded through open competition with robust expert review, and our commissioning processes are carried out with transparency and independence. We publish and disseminate the results of our research and safeguard confidential patient data.


We strive to involve patients, carers and members of the public who reflect the diversity of our society in research, focusing on those most affected by health and care challenges. We are committed to equality and diversity in our workforce and recognise the need to develop researchers across multiple professions, geographies and backgrounds. We seek ways to address barriers to career progression. 


We partner with the NHS, charities, research councils, industry, universities, national and local government and other stakeholders to maximise our impact on people’s health and care and to strengthen the UK’s research ecosystem. We also partner internationally to attract inward investment, address shared challenges, and undertake research in, for and with low and middle income countries.


We are sound custodians of public money and have a strong track record of improving the efficiency of health and care research. We have a culture of innovation, continuously finding ways to increase our accessibility and improve people’s experience of working for and with us. This includes streamlining our processes, simplifying our communications, and leveraging digital technology.

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