Matt Cooper

Commercial activity in the NIHR League Table demonstrating that an ‘ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises’ to the life sciences industry


Matt Cooper, Business Development and Marketing Director at the NIHR Clinical Research Network

Date: 02 August 2017

Mae West, a Hollywood actress and singer popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s, said that "an ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises". And by that measure the NIHR 2016/17 Research Activity League Table shows the performance of the NIHR Clinical Research Network to be truly remarkable, once again enabling and embedding high quality research as core business across health and social care in the NHS. Mae also happened to say that "too much of a good thing can be wonderful" and we certainly have returned another year of fantastic results. The ability to demonstrate the continued depth and breadth of research across the NIHR is a powerful inducement to the life sciences industry continuing to place research in the UK. During the previous year the Network recruited over 34,500 patients to commercial clinical research studies and brought in 729 new commercial studies.

The NIHR 2016/17 Research Activity League Table gives us a fascinating insight into where that activity has come from, highlights some of the star performers and lets us shine a light onto organisations who have made huge achievements but are less well known. For instance: North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust who doubled both their number of commercial studies and recruited 787 patients; Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust who had no commercial studies the previous year and who recruited 115 patients to four studies last year; and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust who recruited a mightily impressive 2,537 patients to commercial studies.

The established ‘names’ of the NHS continued to perform well with hospital trusts in Newcastle, Barts, Oxford, Manchester, Southampton and Leeds having both large numbers of commercial studies on their portfolios and high recruitment of patients. The table evidences a commercially active NIHR Clinical Research Network throughout England in NHS Trusts of all shapes, sizes and specialties. We are always keen to explain to life sciences companies that the advantage of a national infrastructure supporting clinical research based in the NHS, is that we can find them suitable sites across the entire country, not just in London. This is wonderfully demonstrated with both South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who are in amongst the bigger players when looking at those trusts with the largest numerical increase in commercial studies.

When you look at the table which documents the greatest percentage increase in commercial clinical trials activity, you see the great diversity of NHS organisations who are research active in the commercial setting. It is this comprehensive ability to support commercial research that makes the NIHR Clinical Research Network unique in the world. Very few countries have the ability to support commercial activity to such a large extent and away from the main research centres. Of course, the note of caution to be sounded here is that, large volumes of activity are impressive but only truly impactful when partnered with timely delivery to sound but ambitious targets. We need to ensure that the NIHR promise to the life sciences industry for 2017/18, remains to aim high and deliver excellent performance once again.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health and Social Care.
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    The latest NIHR NHS Research Activity League Table has been released. In our latest blog Matt Cooper talks about the CRN performance.
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    Matt Cooper, Business Development and Marketing Director at the NIHR Clinical Research Network

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