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Clinical Research Network

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supports patients, the public and health and care organisations across England to participate in high-quality research, thereby advancing knowledge and improving care. The CRN is comprised of 15 Local Clinical Research Networks and 30 Specialties who coordinate and support the delivery of high-quality research both by geography and therapy area. National leadership and coordination is provided through the CRN Coordinating Centre.

The CRN enables high-quality health and care research in England by meeting the costs of additional staff, facilities, equipment and support services so that research is not subsidised with funding that has been provided for health and care treatments and service. The CRN also provides a vast range of national and local resources and activities designed to support health and care organisations, staff, patients and service users to be research active. These include specialist training, information systems to manage and report research, patient and public involvement opportunities and engagement initiatives, and communications expertise.

Delivering studies ‘to plan’ - meaning within the planned timescale and with the right number of participants to make the results meaningful - is of critical importance, which is why the CRN provides the Study Support Service. This service helps non-commercial researchers and the life sciences industry plan, place and perform research in both the NHS and across the wider health and social care environment in England. We provide this service for all studies eligible for our support, regardless of location, study type, study size, therapy or research area. Whether your study is medical, diagnostic, pharmaceutical, bio-tech or is looking at healthy populations or people with social care needs, we can help.

The NIHR CRN helped 1,289,937 participants take part in over 4,600 portfolio studies in England in 2021/22.

Find out more about our performance and key statistics relating to our activity.

Local Clinical Research Networks

The NIHR Clinical Research Network is made up of 15 Local Clinical Research Networks across England. These local Networks coordinate and support the delivery of high quality research taking place in the NHS and across the wider health and social care environment.

The local Networks help to increase the opportunities for participants to take part in clinical research, ensure that studies are carried out efficiently, and support the Government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences by improving the environment for commercial contract clinical research. The Clinical Research Network receives funding from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) which it uses to allocate funding to the local Networks.



Find your local Clinical Research Network:

  1. North East and North Cumbria

  2. North West Coast

  3. Yorkshire and Humber

  4. Greater Manchester

  5. East Midlands

  6. West Midlands

  7. West of England

  8. Thames Valley and South Midlands

  9. East of England

  10. Kent, Surrey and Sussex

  11. Wessex

  12. South West Peninsula

  13. North Thames

  14. South London

  15. North West London

NIHR Regional Research Delivery Network

From April 2024, the current NIHR Clinical Research Network will be changing to become the NIHR Research Delivery Network. The NIHR Research Delivery Network (RDN) will continue to support the effective and efficient initiation and delivery of funded research across the health and care system in England for the benefit of patients, the health and care system and the economy, with a name that better reflects the scope and purpose of the network to support:

  • Clinical trials and other well-designed health and social care research studies (including studies that are delivered outside of an NHS setting);
  • Public health studies that require the recruitment of individuals within an NHS setting (that is, acute, ambulance, mental health, community or primary care) or an episode of care which involves contact with the NHS

The whole of England will be supported through 12 NIHR Regional Research Delivery Networks (RRDNs). These will work with the national Coordinating Centre to provide a joint RDN leadership function so that the NIHR RDN as a whole functions as a single organisation with a shared vision and purpose across England. Organisations interested in hosting a Regional Research Delivery Network leadership team were invited to submit an expression of interest by 10am 18 October 2022 and this stage of the selection process has now closed.

The NIHR RRDNs will have three key roles. First, to provide support to research sites to enable the effective and efficient initiation and delivery of funded research across the health and care system in England. Second, to enable the strategic development of new and more effective research delivery capability and capacity. This will include bringing research to under-served regions and communities with major health and care needs. Third, work jointly with the Coordinating Centre in the strategic oversight of the NIHR RDN. This will ensure that the Portfolio is maintained as a cohort of high-quality, fully-funded, viable and deliverable studies. It will also ensure that the NIHR RDN as a whole serves the needs of researchers and R&D teams and is responsive to the changing domestic and global environment for health and care, life sciences and health research.

NIHR RRDNs will need to develop excellent relationships with the organisations commissioning and providing health and social care across their regions, which are mapped onto NHS regions and integrated care systems. They will help support research undertaken by those providers and at sites across the region, and promote research meeting the needs of local populations. NIHR RRDNs will work together with an RDN national Coordinating Centre to support health and care research for the benefit of patients, the health and care system and the economy as a whole.

Research Specialty Areas

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) provides researchers with the practical support they need to make clinical studies happen in both the NHS and the wider health and social care environment.

The CRN supports research being delivered through 30 specialty therapy areas. These provide a network of research expertise and clinical leadership to deliver research studies on the NIHR Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) Portfolio of studies. Each specialty is made up of expert clinical leaders and practitioners who work at both national and local levels to ensure that studies are delivered successfully and to promote awareness of research opportunities for participants to take part in. The specialty groups also support the dialogue between the life sciences industry and charities to ensure the pipeline of research studies and to facilitate the involvement of participants to make research more effective.