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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, 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 that support health and care organisations, staff, and patients and service users to be research active, such as specialist training, information systems to manage and report research, patient and public involvement 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 helps researchers and the life sciences industry plan, set up and deliver high-quality research in both the NHS and the wider health and social care environment across 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 CRN supported over 6,100 studies and recruited over 870,000 participants in 2018/2019.

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. Eastern

  10. Kent, Surrey and Sussex

  11. Wessex

  12. South West Peninsula

  13. North Thames

  14. South London

  15. North West London

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.

Specialties A-I Specialties I-S
Ageing Injuries and Emergencies
Anaesthesia, Perioperative Medicine and Pain Management Kidney Disorders
Cancer Liver
Cardiovascular Disease Mental Health
Children and Young People Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders
Critical Care Musculoskeletal Disorders
Dementias and Neurodegeneration Neurological Disorders
Dermatology Ophthalmology
Diabetes Oral and Dental Health
Ear, Nose and Throat Primary Care
Gastroenterology Public Health and Prevention
Genomics and Rare Diseases Reproductive Health
Haematology Respiratory Disorders
Health Services Research Stroke
Infection Surgery

The Specialties are managed by six cluster offices, the lead for each cluster office is listed below.

Professor Desmond Johnston, Cluster A:
Cardiovascular Disease
Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders
Renal Disorders

Professor Eric Alton, Cluster B:
Ear, Nose and Throat
Respiratory Disorders

Professor Stephen Smye, Cluster C:
Anaesthesia, Perioperative Medicine and Pain Management
Critical Care
Health Services Research
Injuries and Emergencies

Professor Philip Evans, Cluster C:
Mental Health
Primary Care
Public Health

Professor Michael Beresford, Cluster D:
Musculoskeletal Disorders
Reproductive Health and Childbirth​​​​​​​

Professor Lynn Rochester, Cluster E:
Dementias and Neurodegeneration
Neurological Disorders

Professor Matt Seymour, Cluster F:
Oral and Dental Health