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Restart Framework (now superceded)


Published: 19 April 2021

Version: Version: 1.0 - 19 April 2021

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After the first phase of the pandemic, NIHR introduced the Restart Framework to guide the restoration of a fully active portfolio of NIHR research, alongside support for COVID-19 research as part of the Government response to the pandemic. This framework has guided the continuation of the non-COVID research alongside COVID-19 research. Its conditions have been study viability, safety, and capacity and site readiness, which remain relevant.

It set out three levels for prioritisation of NIHR CRN support, according to study urgency, with a special level of prioritisation for urgent COVID studies.

With falling COVID-19 caseloads, completion or impending completion of many Urgent Public Health studies, and increasing focus on the need to support non-COVID studies for the health and care needs of the population and strength of the life sciences sector, this framework is now being replaced with the managing research recovery process.

Studies which are already open and recruiting successfully should not be paused in anticipation of, or as a result of, this process. Other studies which fall outside of the scope should continue to be managed as usual by local sites.

How research continued during the pandemic

Study viability: How a digital approach is enabling studies to reopen in Leicester
This Trust developed a collaborative process that provided people with an opportunity to input into the viability of a study, and discuss any changes that needed to be made to how a study is delivered.

Safety: Moving research forward remotely
How this postponed observational study managed to open, carrying out risk assessments and utilising

Capacity and site readiness: Restarting research in Nottingham
A Restart Group was set up at this Trust to explore which studies were possible to reopen, this included a review of linked clinical services and capacity assessments.

Prioritisation: Restarted lymphoma research gives patients the chance to dream big
This research team had to balance the risks of COVID-19 against the benefits of trial therapies in patients with unmet needs in lymphoma.

Further examples:
To help share how sites are overcoming challenges in restarting research, Local Clinical Research Networks are publishing news stories and case studies to highlight where progress is being made, key learnings and best practice.