We fund research projects into conditions affecting children and young people through our funding programmes, and support training and career development for paediatric researchers.
We deliver paediatric and child health research funded by the NIHR, the life sciences industry and non-commercial organisations including charities. We support the set up and delivery of this research in the NHS and in public health and social care settings. Our research infrastructure also supports research funded by these partners, offering expertise, collaborations and facilities.
We also provide opportunities for children and young people, and their families and carers, to influence and take part in health and care research.
The NIHR supports patients and the public to participate in high quality research taking place in health and care settings across England, advancing knowledge and improving care.
NIHR Clinical Research Network
The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) includes 30 specialty groups, who coordinate and support the delivery of high quality research by therapy area. Some of this research is funded by the NIHR, but most of it is funded by non-commercial organisations, such as charities or universities, and the life sciences industry.
The CRN provides researchers with the practical support they need to make research happen. It supports the set up and delivery of clinical research in the NHS, and in other health and care settings through our Study Support Service. There are tailored offers of support for:
We support and deliver clinical research involving children and young people that includes:
Randomised controlled trials and other high quality research of new and established medicines for children
Screening, diagnosis and the development of prognostic tools including imaging
Development and evaluation of health technologies and medical devices
Interventions such as behavioural interventions and medical devices
Studies on normal development and the pathogenesis, monitoring and prevention of disease
Cohort studies and the effect of lifestyle factors such as diet, nutrition and exercise
We have developed 14 Clinical Studies Groups (CSGs) that provide expert advice to help researchers develop high quality research proposals to cover different specialty areas within child health. Our CSGs include active researchers, parents, nurses, charity representatives and formulation experts. CSGs can help with:
Focusing ideas and refining the research question
Facilitating patient and parent input
Overall study design
Feasibility of researching for a study
Linking up with Clinical Trials Units who can contribute expertise in statistics and trial management
Signposting to funding opportunities and NIHR CRN support
We are committed to delivering the best research to improve the health and healthcare of children and young people. In the last five years 10,499 participants have been recruited into commercial children’s studies across a broad range of paediatric sub-specialties.
The Children’s Specialty consistently meets recruitment targets, with 79% of studies delivered on time and meeting the recruitment target in 2019/20.
We facilitate discussions with sponsors and clinical studies groups, providing early feedback and suggesting strategies for site selection and improved recruitment.
Who we are
As well as providing research delivery staff, we also bring together highly engaged NHS consultants and clinical academics from top UK universities, bringing both clinical and academic expertise to your research. Our experts in the CRN Specialty Group can advise on delivering your children and young people study in the NHS and in particular geographic regions.
The UK Child Health Research Collaboration (UK CHRC) is a partnership between funders of child health research. Through increasing and strengthening research, it aims to advance paediatric science and improve the health and wellbeing of children. The National Specialty Lead for Children attends the UK CHRC meetings to support the growth and development of child health research capacity and infrastructure.
Our funding programmes fund high quality research in children and young people that benefits the NHS, public health and social care. We also provide career development funding awards for children and young people researchers - see the careers tab for more information.
Our funding programmes
Our commissioned research programmes often seek research proposals on conditions affecting children and young people.
Most of our funding programmes also run funding calls open to research proposals on any topic (researcher-led calls), including research proposals in children and young people.
Got an idea for research in children and young people? The NIHR Research Design Service can help you turn it into a funding application, offering advice on research design, research methods, identifying funding sources, and involving patients and the public.
NIHR Policy Research Units (PRUs) undertake research to inform government and arms-length bodies making policy decisions about health and social care. The units create a critical mass of experts for research in priority areas for health and social care policy.
The following PRU undertakes research related to children and young people:
The NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR) undertakes research into public health, with an emphasis on what works practically, can be applied across the country and better meets the needs of policy makers, practitioners and the public.
The NIHR attracts, trains and supports the best researchers in children and young people to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future.
Our investment in people sustains excellent research capacity and expertise throughout clinical and non-clinical academic career pathways and provides high quality learning and development opportunities for the delivery workforce in our infrastructure.
Funding research careers
The NIHR Academy is responsible for the development and coordination of NIHR academic training, career development and research capacity development.
There is a wide range of NIHR training and career development awards available at different career stages, from pre-doctoral through to Research Professorships. These awards comprise both personal awards, which can be applied for directly with the NIHR, and institutional awards which should be applied for through the host institution.
The NIHR invests significantly in people, centres of excellence, collaborations, services and facilities to support health and care research in England. Collectively these form the world-class NIHR infrastructure.
This national research infrastructure is available to use by UKRI, research charities and the life sciences industry as well as NIHR researchers.
NIHR Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) are collaborations between world-leading universities and NHS organisations that bring together academics and clinicians to translate lab-based scientific breakthroughs into potential new treatments, diagnostics and medical technologies.
The following BRCs undertake research in children and young people:
The CRN Children’s specialty works directly with the NIHR Children and Young People MedTech Cooperative to collaboratively support and influence the development of child health technology. The specialty also has strong links with the network of Paediatric Clinical Research Facilities to ensure the coordinated delivery of high quality research for children across the country.
The following MICs undertake research in children and young people:
Professor Paul Dimitri is the NIHR Clinical Research Network National Children’s Specialty Lead. He is also the Clinical Lead for the TITCH (Technology Innovation Transforming Child Health) Network established to support the development and adoption of technology for children’s healthcare and the NIHR Children and Young People MedTech Co-operative.
The NIHR Research Professorship is the flagship personal funding award for the NIHR. The scheme funds research leaders of the future to promote effective translation of research.
Dr Manju Kurian
Dr Manju Kurian is an academic paediatric neurologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Dr Kurian’s research is understanding genetic causes of cerebral palsy, by identifying disease-causing genes and developing practical guidelines to aid patient diagnosis and management.
Dr Waseem Qasim
Dr Waseem Qasim is Professor of Cell and Gene Therapy at University College London. Dr Qasim’s is researching next generation T cell gene therapies for children with leukaemia and immunodeficiency.
The Young Persons’ Advisory Group, now called GenerationR, launched in 2006 and has become increasingly influential in helping to improve the design and delivery of children and young people's clinical research studies. Read more about our work with Generation R in this blog.