This site is optimised for modern browsers. For the best experience, please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.


We welcome your feedback, which will help improve this site.

Feedback form

Dissemination Centre

The Dissemination Centre puts good research evidence at the heart of decision making in the NHS, public health and social care.

Our work helps clinicians, commissioners and patients to make evidence-based decisions about which treatments and practices are most effective and provide the best use of resources.

Much of the research evidence we share comes from projects funded by the NIHR but for our Signals, we also sift through and critically appraise research papers published in 100 leading scientific journals.

The NIHR Dissemination Centre identifies the most reliable, relevant and significant health research findings and summarises them in a range helpful formats for you to use – Signals, Highlights and Themed Reviews. These are published on our Discover Portal.

Whether you are looking for regular, easy to read summaries of the latest important findings or a comprehensive guide to key NIHR-funded research on a particular theme, the NIHR Dissemination Centre has something for you.

You decide what we share:

Our readers help us to decide which research findings are worth sharing. A pool of over a thousand raters provide scores and comments on selected research abstracts. These are then used in our editorial meetings to decide which studies and reviews to summarise as NIHR Signals.

Guided by service leaders, front-line staff, patients and researchers

Each of our Themed Reviews is produced under the guidance of a bespoke expert steering group. We bring together National Clinical Directors and other clinical leaders alongside frontline staff, researchers, patients and carers to fully understand their evidence needs.

Search over 650 Signals… and counting

The Discover Portal provides decision makers with a searchable resource of everything we do. Browse by your role, one of nearly 40 health care categories or the journal the research was published in. Alternatively make use of a powerful keyword search to find the evidence you need and add interesting results to a shortlist. New Signals are added every week.

New Signals are added weekly onto our Discover Portal and we currently have over 650 available to search, we publish 6 highlights a year and 3 themed reviews.


Latest Highlight

Patient Collection

In this collection, we asked seven members of the public to tell us which Signals have interested them most and explain why they feel the findings are worth sharing.




Latest Themed Review

Improving Care By Using Patient Feedback

This report features nine new research studies about using patient experience data in the NHS. These show what organisations are doing now and what could be done better.



Upcoming Work

Themed Reviews   Highlights  
Learning Disability February 2020 Depression Collection  February 2020
    Cost Saving Infographic March 2020



Get involved in supporting evidence dissemination by becoming a rater 

The NIHR Dissemination Centre works with a number of professional and public contributors throughout the entire dissemination process. The centre encourages regular input from external stakeholders to ensure that the views of key audiences are at the heart of everything it does and one of the ways the centre does this is to use raters for our Signals. 

Every week, the NIHR Dissemination Centre’s editorial board meet to discuss which abstracts should be turned into Signals. Before the abstracts are discussed, they are sent to professional and public raters for feedback on its relevance and importance to decision makers and patients.

Why do we have raters?

Raters provide important feedback on research abstracts. This feedback is then used in the Dissemination Centre’s editorial meetings to decide which studies to summarise and publish as NIHR Signals.

Why become a rater?

Being a rater gives you the opportunity to use your knowledge and experience to shape what the NIHR produce. Whether you are a patient who has experience of a condition or a clinician who specialises in treating it, you will be sent research abstracts to rate that are relevant to your area of interest.

Who can become a rater?

There is a rating role for everyone. Healthcare practitioners, other NHS staff, public health staff and researchers can all join in a professional capacity. Patients and carers can join to bring their personal experience of health and social care.

What does being a rater involve?

As a rater, you would be asked to read selected research abstracts and assess their likely importance to health and social care audiences. The centre wants to know if you think research findings seem interesting enough to recommend to a colleague or discuss with others. You do not need to have a complete knowledge of a clinical or research area.

Improve decision making

As a rater you can help the NIHR put research evidence at the heart of decision making in health and social care. You will be helping clinicians, commissioners, managers, patients and service users to see evidence about which treatments and practices are most effective and provide the best use of resources.

Payments to public raters

Public (non-professional) raters are offered a small honorarium payment for each abstract rated (£5).  If you are a public rater, keep the acknowledgement e-mails sent after you have rated an abstract and use them as reference when claiming your payments. Payments to raters are made twice per year.

Find out more information on rater guidance.

Sign up to become a rater today.


We have a number of publications and organisations that re-publish our NIHR Signals including the BMJ, CSP, RCOT and Nursing Times magazine. Our Signals may be freely reproduced provided that suitable acknowledgement is made and reproduction is not associated with any form of advertising. Please see information below.

All NIHR Signals have been produced under the terms of a contract issued by the Secretary of State for Health. Permission to reproduce material from a published report is covered by the UK Government’s the Non-Commercial Government Licence for public sector information. Further to the conditions set out in this licence, we ask that you also observe the following:

  • Do not edit the content of the article.
  • Attribute the content to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Dissemination Centre.
  • Include a link back to the original article URL or the NIHR Dissemination Centre portal ( Our preference is a credit at the top of the article and that you include our logo .
  • The licence does not cover the use of images on the site: Most images, such as those from commercial providers, don’t allow their images to be republished without permission or payment. You are welcome to omit our images or substitute with your own. 
  • You can’t systematically republish all of our articles, nor frame the content of our site.
  • You may incorporate XML/RSS feeds into your own webpages, search engines and/or mailings to display the headlines of NIHR Signals hyperlinked to the original page.
  • If you wish to quote from or reproduce the expert comment independent from the rest of the article, please contact: We will then seek permission from the commentator.
  • You may publish extracts from Signals as long as these include a clear link back to the full text.
  • Print: articles can be published in print under these same rules, with the exception that you do not need to include hyperlinks, although a full acknowledgement is still required. We would appreciate it if you would send a scanned image of the republished article to for our records.


Contact Us

The Dissemination Centre is based at the Wessex Institute and can be emailed at: 

National Institute for Health Research
Dissemination Centre
Wessex Institute
University of Southampton
Alpha House
Enterprise Road
SO16 7NS


Want to receive the latest important research findings by email? Subscribe here