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We fund liver disease research projects through our funding programmes, and support training and career development for researchers in the specialty. 

We support liver diseases research funded by the NIHR, the life sciences industry and non-commercial organisations such as 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 people affected by liver conditions and their families and carers to influence and take part in 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, with tailored offers of support for:

Supporting liver diseases research

The Hepatology Specialty oversees research that deals with the diagnosis and management of patients with diseases of the liver, biliary tree and pancreas. We support a wide range of research studies including acute and chronic liver disease, liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, screening and treating viral hepatitis and genetic studies including pharmacogenetics.

The Hepatology Specialty works closely with other specialties such as cancer, surgery and gastroenterology to deliver a broader research portfolio.

  • Acute and chronic liver disease including liver failure
  • The impact of identifying, screening and treating viral hepatitis
  • Liver fibrosis and cirrhosis
  • Normal and abnormal liver metabolism
  • Genetic studies including pharmacogenetics
  • Biomarkers
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Alcohol
  • Complications of cirrhosis
  • Fatty liver
  • Liver cancer
  • Viral hepatitis

We support all phases of liver research and have formed close relationships with MedTech companies initiated through an NIHR Applied Programme grant on biomarkers of liver and renal disease.

We have pioneered the research and development of machine perfusion of livers to assist transplantation as well as a number of other devices.The UK has seven liver transplant centres that can support the delivery of transplantation research.

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 liver study in the NHS and in particular geographic regions. 

Dr Lynsey Corless is the CRN National Specialty Lead for liver diseases. Read Dr Corless’s full biography

Dr Lynsey Corless is supported by the local specialty leads in each of the 15 NIHR Local Clinical Research Networks.

Our collaborators and stakeholders

The CRN, British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) and British Association for the Study of the Liver (BASL) regularly meet to agree research priorities and have worked to align their training research agenda.

The Specialty has a close working relationship with the BSG and they are represented on the Hepatology Specialty Group.

Research awards

Recognising the outstanding contributions of the Hepatology and Gastroenterology clinical research communities, the NIHR is supporting a group of four new research awards with the BSG. The awards aim to showcase the research skills, processes and outputs across the specialties.  The award winners have now been announced with awards presented at the BSG Conference in autumn 2021.

James Lind Alliance

The James Lind Alliance (JLA) has identified a set of priorities for alcohol related liver diseases. The JLA is a non-profit making initiative established in 2004 that brings patients, carers and clinicians together in Priority Setting Partnerships (PSPs) to identify and prioritise the Top 10 uncertainties, or unanswered questions, about the effects of treatments.The aim of this is to make sure that health research funders are aware of the issues that matter most to patients and clinicians

Find out more about the Alcohol-related Liver Disease 

NIHR Clinical Research Facilities 

NIHR Clinical Research Facilities (CRFs) are purpose built facilities in NHS hospitals where researchers can deliver early-phase and complex studies. 


Our funding programmes fund high quality research in liver diseases that benefits the NHS. We also provide career development funding awards for hepatology researchers - see the careers tab for more information. 

Our funding programmes

Our commissioned research programmes often seek research proposals on liver diseases. For example, we’ve held a funding call for research on ablative techniques for liver metastases

Most of our funding programmes also run funding calls open to research proposals on any topic (researcher-led calls), including research proposals in liver diseases. 

Got an idea for research in liver diseases? The NIHR Research Support 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.

Our portfolio of liver diseases research

You can search and view all the liver diseases research we’ve funded on NIHR Funding and Awards.

In addition, a number of our research programmes publish comprehensive accounts of our liver diseases research in the NIHR Journals Library.


The NIHR attracts, trains and supports the best researchers in liver diseases 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 liver diseases 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.

Supporting the delivery workforce

NIHR Clinical Research Training Programme

This innovative programme offers comprehensive training in how to understand, participate in, and lead clinical research as a future consultant in the NHS.

Associate Principal Investigator (PI) Scheme 

The Associate PI Scheme aims to develop junior doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to become the PIs of the future and provides formal recognition of a trainee's engagement in NIHR Portfolio research studies. It provides an opportunity to individuals not in the traditional research setting to gain the practical skills to lead and coordinate NIHR portfolio research.

The Associate PI Scheme also provides the hands-on research experience component to individuals registered to the NIHR Clinical Research Training Programme


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

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 liver diseases:

NIHR Medtech and In vitro diagnostics Co-operatives

NIHR Medtech and In vitro diagnostics Co-operatives (MICs) build expertise and capacity in the NHS to develop new medical technologies and provide evidence on commercially-supplied in vitro diagnostic tests. 

The following MICs undertake research in liver diseases:

NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative

The NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative (HIC) has been set up to deliver high quality data in key therapeutic areas and make NHS clinical data more readily available to researchers, industry and the NHS community. Hepatitis is one of the research themes of the HIC.

NIHR Clinical Research Network

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supports set up and delivery of clinical research in the NHS and in other health and care settings. Find out more on the delivery tab.


The NIHR funds and supports world-class experts in liver diseases. 

In addition, our experts in the NIHR Clinical Research Network (National Specialty Leads) can advise on delivering your liver diseases study in the NHS or in other health and social care settings.

National Specialty Lead

Dr Corless is the NIHR CRN National Specialty Lead for Hepatology. 

 As well as contributing to national and international trials, Dr. Corless leads a local research program focusing on Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Alcohol. Her main areas of interest are community management of liver disease and the impact of inequality on healthcare utilisation and outcomes.

Public involvement

We engage with and involve patients, carers, service users and members of the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research in liver diseases.

Have your say in research

We involve patients, carers, service users and members of the public in our national research funding and support activities, including in liver diseases research.

The researchers we fund also involve patients in planning and delivering their liver diseases research.

Involvement opportunities across the NIHR

Our Local Clinical Research Networks involve people in liver diseases research taking place in your local area.

The NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre has a Liver Patient and Public Involvement Panel to suggest future research plans, help review patient information sheets and help produce articles for the newsletter Liver FOCUS.

The NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, which has a focus on liver diseases, offers opportunities for members of the public, carers and patients to work alongside its research teams as research volunteers. 

Take part in research

Be Part of Research is an online service that lists opportunities to take part in liver diseases research across the UK.

NIHR Clinical Research Training Programme

 The NHS constitution states that patients have a right to be involved in research, though many NHS doctors and consultants do not have the clinical research experience to conduct research on the wards. 

The NIHR has set up a training programme to provide the skills and experience to support research in the NHS tailored towards hepatologists.

NIHR Clinical Research Training Programme