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What we do

Our mission is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research.

Since we were established in 2006 under the government's health research strategy Best Research for Best Health, our mission has been to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. We deliver this mission through six core workstreams.

In June 2021, we published Best Research for Best Health: The Next chapter. This re-affirms our coreworkstreams and highlights seven ‘areas of strategic focus’ where the environment is changing and we need to delivertransformative change over the next five to ten years.  Together, these comprise our operational priorities as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.  At all times we are guided by our operating principles of impact, excellence, inclusion, collaboration and effectiveness.

Our core workstreams

Explore how we deliver our mission through our core workstreams and learn about different parts of our organisation. 

We fund high quality, timely research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care

NIHR is committed to funding health, public health and social care research that leads to improved outcomes for patients and the public, and makes the health and social care system more efficient , effective and safe.   We work closely with stakeholders across the system to ensure we address the challenges they face and are responsive to their research needs.

We invest in world-class expertise, facilities and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services.

NIHR’s ‘infrastructure’ supports the research we fund and underpins research funded by others. Our investment has transformed the health system’s ability to turn scientific discoveries into new or improved treatments and services. Uptake of these  innovations across the nation is enabled by applied research studies delivered through our infrastructure.

We partner with patient, service users, carers and communities improving the relevance, quality and impact of our research

NIHR’s research is shaped in collaboration with patients, service users, carers and communities. People contribute at every stage of the research pathway and also play a vital role by volunteering to participate in studies and trials. We are determined that their perspectives and experiences are heard and acted upon, and that their contributions are valued and recognised.

We attract, train and support the best researchers to tackle complex health and social care challenges

NIHR is the nation’s largest funder of health and social care research training.  We provide career pathways for clinical academics and non-clinical scientists and offer  opportunities for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals to integrate research with clinical practice. We also build the research capacity and capability needed to respond to health and social care challenges.

We collaborate with other public funders charities and industry to shape a cohesive and globally competitive research system

NIHR works closely with partners from across the public sector and with medical research charities and the life sciences industry. Together we aim to create an integrated research system that meets the needs of patients and the public and positions the UK as a globally attractive destination for high quality clinical research.

We fund applied global health research and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle income countries

Working closely with the global health research community, NIHR funds applied research and training for the benefit of the poorest people in more than 50  low and middle income countries. By sharing learning and knowledge, we are able to build R&D capacity and capability in both the UK and low and middle income countries.