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Research Infrastructure


The NIHR invests significantly in centres of excellence, collaborations, services and facilities to support research in England. Collectively these form the NIHR infrastructure.

Enabling research to advance and deliver

NIHR infrastructure funding provides a platform to enable research, acting as a targeted and strategic investment to create an environment where early stage and applied research can thrive. Our infrastructure provides research expertise, specialist facilities, a research delivery workforce and support services which all help to support and deliver the research we fund, and research funded by others. Research funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), medical research charities, the life sciences industry (biopharmaceuticals, medtech, genomics, diagnostics and digital health), and other relevant industries all benefit from the network of services and support that we provide. 

The life sciences industry chooses to work with NIHR infrastructure to access expertise in designing, setting up and delivering high quality, innovative research. By offering this support to multinational companies, we encourage them to conduct their clinical studies in the UK, allowing researchers, patients and the public access to potential new treatments as well as growing the UK’s share of the global market. We also help home-grown SMEs to establish themselves and thrive. Through our support for companies large and small, we make a significant contribution to the UK economy.

Each year, the NIHR invests more than £606 million of infrastructure funding for services, facilities and people to support research and its delivery. Our significant and sustained infrastructure funding supports the country’s leading experts in world-class research organisations.

How we fund research infrastructure

NIHR infrastructure funding provides a platform to enable research, acting as a targeted and strategic investment to create an environment where early stage and applied research can thrive.

We award infrastructure funding to world leading NHS organisations and academic institutions with a proven, international track record in health and care research, through a thorough, national peer reviewed funding process. The funding awards are significant multi-million-pound investments.

Depending on the scope and remit of individual infrastructure schemes, partnerships of organisations can submit funding applications. These are then peer reviewed and considered by panels of experts appropriate to the competition.

Full information about the funding process for each infrastructure scheme is published in the applicant guidance once the competition opens and funding is advertised on the NIHR website and through our stakeholders.

Types of research infrastructure we fund

The NIHR invests in centres of excellence, collaborations, services and facilities in research areas of strategic importance through a number of different five-year infrastructure funding schemes.

We support applied health and care research and implementation science by investing £135 million into NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs).

We support public and industry-funded researchers to develop new medical technologies and in vitro diagnostic tests through our £14.25 million investment in 11 NIHR MedTech and In Vitro Diagnostic Co-operatives (MICs).

We help to translate innovations in fields outside of healthcare, such as aviation and engineering, into new approaches to improve patient safety through our £25 million investment into six NIHR Patient Safety Research Collaborations (PSRCs)

We help researchers run early-phase trials of brand new drugs and treatments by investing £112 million into 23 dedicated, purpose-built NIHR Clinical Research Facilities (CRFs) for Experimental Medicine.

We support the translation of scientific discoveries into brand new treatments for patients through our almost £790 million investment in 20 NIHR Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs).

We fund a national integrated research design, development, collaboration and implementation support system for researchers, irrespective of geographical location through a £97.5 million investment in the NIHR Research Support Service (RSS).

We also support coordinated delivery of high quality commercial and non-commercial research at sites throughout England through annual funding of £300 million to our 15 Local Clinical Research Networks (LCRNs).

Services and support