Internet Explorer is no longer supported by Microsoft. To browse the NIHR site please use a modern, secure browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

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 together host our 2 coordinating centres:

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

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
  • Acting CEO of the NIHR Clinical Research Network
  • 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 Acting CEO of the NIHR Clinical Research Network)

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
  • NIHR functional leaders and guests

NIHR Coordinating Centre

Leaders of NIHRCC have 5 key responsibilities. They manage NIHR's:

  • funding programmes (research programmes and NIHR Academy programmes) 
  • research expertise, collaborations and specialist facilities - part of what we call our 'infrastructure'
  • research schools, research units and other centres of expertise
  • global health research initiatives in low and middle income countries
  • strategic functions such as communications, digital, data and technology and public partnerships

It is important to note that NIHR brought together 5 centres, each with its own DHSC contract, under the name NIHRCC in March 2023. This was part of a programme of work to make it easier for stakeholders to understand and work with us. These 5 centres were previously named:

  • NIHR Academy Executive, hosted by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC), hosted by the University of Southampton
  • NIHR Centre for Engagement and Dissemination (CED), NIHR Central Commissioning Facility (CCF) and the NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI), all hosted by LGC

The separate contracts are still in place and host institutions remain unchanged. The name NIHR Academy will remain, referring to career development and recognition programmes that support or recognise those on an Academy career pathway and the associated membership community.

NIHR Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) comprises 15 Local Clinical Research Networks with a national Coordinating Centre, managed by CRN leaders. The CRN supports research delivery across health and social care, and specialty therapy area experts who work to ensure that studies are delivered successfully.

CRN distributes 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.