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Neurological Disorders


We fund neurological disorders research projects through our funding programmes, and support training and career development for neurological disorders researchers.

We deliver neurological disorders 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 neurological disorders research funded by these partners, offering expertise, collaborations and facilities.

We also provide opportunities for people affected by neurological disorders 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 neurological disorders research

The CRN Neurological Disorders Specialty Group supports the set up and delivery of clinical research in the NHS in epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, headache, neuro-muscular disease, neurological infections such as encephalitis and the normal development of the nervous system. By promoting high quality clinical research we aim to increase the understanding of the causes of these conditions, and improve the prevention, detection, care and treatment for people suffering from them.

Our local teams of research staff are specialists in facilitating the set up and recruitment to neurological disorders studies in England. We have substantial experience of supporting all types of research studies including complex and multi-centre clinical interventions.

We also work closely with the Dementias and Neurodegeneration Specialty - which covers dementias, Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease and Huntington’s disease - to deliver high quality collaborative 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 neurological disorders study in the NHS and in particular geographic regions.

Professor Peter Goadsby is the CRN National Specialty Lead for Neurological Disorders. Read Professor Goadsby’s full biography.

Professor Goadsby is supported by local specialty leads in each of the 15 NIHR Local Clinical Research Networks.

Our collaborators and stakeholders

We have strong links with disorder-focused national charities such as the Migraine Trust, Epilepsy Action, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Multiple Sclerosis Trust. In addition we work with the Neurological Alliance, an umbrella group for neurological charities, to ensure even rarer conditions can be represented in our research portfolio.


Our funding programmes fund high quality research in neurological disorders that benefits the NHS, public health and social care. We also provide career development funding awards for neurological disorders researchers - see the careers tab for more information.

Our funding programmes

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

Got an idea for research in neurological disorders? 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.

Our portfolio of neurological disorders research

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

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


The NIHR attracts, trains and supports the best researchers in neurological disorders 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 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.

Find out more about working with our research infrastructure as a researcher or a member of the life sciences industry

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 neurological disorders:

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 neurological disorders:

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 neurological disorders.

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

National Specialty Lead

Professor Peter Goadsby is the CRN National Specialty Lead for Neurological Disorders. His major research interests are in the basic mechanisms of primary headache disorders, such as migraine and cluster headache, in both experimental and clinical settings, and translating these insights into their better management.

Research Professors

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. The following NIHR Research Professors undertake research in neurological disorders.

Professor Olga Ciccarelli

Professor Ciccarelli’s research aims to develop a computer tool that will help doctors to select the most appropriate treatment for Multiple Sclerosis patients.

Dr Manju Kurian

Dr Kurian’s research aims to identify disease-causing genes in patients with cerebral palsy and develop practical guidelines to aid patient diagnosis and management.

Dr Alexander Leff

Dr Leff’s research aims to produce three computer-based therapies that patients with specific impairments of their thinking and memory skills can use to boost re-learning.

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 neurological disorders.

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 neurological disorders research.

The researchers we fund also involve patients in planning and delivering their neurological disorders research.

Our Local Clinical Research Networks involve people in neurological disorders research taking place in your local area.

Involvement opportunities across the NIHR

The NIHR Brain Injury MedTech Co-operative has developed a volunteer register for patients, carers and other interested persons to assist in the development and advance of healthcare technologies.

The NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre aims to innovate and improve care for patients with brain disorders and has a range of opportunities to get involved with their research.

The neurological diseases theme at the NIHR University College Hospitals London Biomedical Research Centre uses experimental medicine approaches to discover novel treatments for patients. They are keen to link up people with opportunities to get actively involved in research and The neuroscience programme has an active lay panel that meets bi-annually.

Take part in research

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