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Our governance

How we are managed

Our work is directed by the Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), who is also NIHR's Chief Executive Officer, and by the Director and Senior Management Team of DHSC's Science Research and Evidence (SRE) Directorate.

DHSC contracts directly with a number of NHS trusts, universities and life science organisations that between them host our 2 coordinating centres:

  • NIHR Coordinating Centre (NIHRCC), hosted by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the University of Southampton and LGC
  • NIHR Research Delivery Network Coordinating Centre (RDNCC), hosted by the University of Leeds

These 2 coordinating centres have operational responsibility for the NIHR. DHSC has contract management boards in place to ensure delivery against contractual obligations.

There are also a number of NIHR functional leaders who support both coordinating centres, working in areas such as communications, digital, data and technology, and public partnerships.

NIHR Centres Executive Board

The NIHR Centres Executive Board shapes and manages initiatives and services for which the coordinating centres have joint accountability. It also provides a forum for discussing cross-cutting activities that are led by an individual centre. 

The members are:

  • Executive Directors of NIHRCC
  • Executive Director of the RDNCC
  • NIHR Director for Public Voice
  • NIHR Chief Digital Officer
  • NIHR Director of Communications

NIHR Board

The NIHR Board provides advice to the DHSC Chief Scientific Adviser and NIHR CEO, and to the Director of SRE. It supports them in discharging their duties in respect of:

  • delivering against NIHR’s mission to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research
  • establishing NIHR’s strategic direction, currently described in Best Research for Best Health: The Next Chapter
  • setting policy including for research funding
  • agreeing operational plans and addressing barriers to their delivery
  • ensuring that NIHR’s nationally distributed structure is cohesive
  • overseeing relationships with key partners and stakeholders

The NIHR Board is designed to provide a balance of policy, scientific and operational perspectives. The members are:

  • DHSC Chief Scientific Adviser and NIHR CEO
  • Director and 4 Deputy Directors of SRE
  • NIHR’s 4 scientific advisers (one of whom is also the Dean of the NIHR Academy)
  • NIHR’s 4 operational leaders (the 3 Executive Directors of NIHRCC and the Executive Director of the RDNCC)

NIHR Strategy and Engagement Board

The NIHR Strategy and Engagement Board advises on strategic matters and provides a forum for discussing how to deliver against priorities across NIHR’s distributed structure. It informs the work of the NIHR Board.

Members of the Strategy and Engagement Board are expected to play an ambassadorial role, engaging partners and stakeholders in NIHR’s work. They are:

  • members of the NIHR Board
  • Directors of NIHR Research Programmes
  • Editor in Chief of the NIHR Journals Library
  • representatives of NIHR Infrastructure and Research Schools
  • representatives of NIHR Research Professors and Early Career Researchers
  • representatives of NIHR public contributors
  • NIHR functional leaders and guests


NIHR Coordinating Centre

Leaders of NIHRCC  are responsible for managing NIHR’s funding schemes - research programmes, research schools and university-led collaborations. This includes initiatives in low and middle income countries and NIHR Academy programmes that build research capacity and capability.

They are also responsible for managing NIHR’s investment in research experts and specialist facilities. This investment spans the innovation pathway from early translational to clinical and applied research. Our investment underpins, enables and supports not only public sector research but also research funded by the life sciences industry and charities.

NIHR Research Delivery Network Coordinating Centre

From April 2024, the NIHR Research Delivery Network Coordinating Centre (RDNCC) was established, as the first element of the new NIHR Research Delivery Network (RDN).

Building on the successes of the Clinical Research Network (CRN), the RDN will be fully established from October 2024. The RDN will comprise 12 regional research delivery networks and the national coordinating centre.

A new RDN Board will manage the transition and transformation from the CRN to the RDN. It will be the primary oversight body for developing the network and its services.

The RDN supports research delivery across the health and social care system.

The RDN will distribute funding to support the research workforce of over 12,000 staff based in NHS trusts, GP practices, care homes, hospices, local authorities, dental surgeries, schools and prisons. It also provides a range of services supporting sponsors in the delivery of health and care research across England, together with the UK-wide research volunteer services, Be Part of Research and Join Dementia Research.


To contact NIHR, please refer to the Contact Us page.