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NIHR Study Support Service for the Life Sciences Industry

From feasibility, to setting up sites, to monitoring recruitment. We  provide the life sciences industry with a flexible package of free support to help plan, set-up and deliver clinical research  in the UK. Our support is available to  all life science industries (including  pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics and medical technology industries and Contract Research Organisations) regardless of location, study type, study size, or therapy area.

We work  partnership with the NHS to deliver high quality clinical research. Our dedicated, research-ready workforce of 10,000+ personnel  is embedded throughout the NHS across England. All our NHS sites are connected through our national Network which enables national oversight study performance and  targeting of support through our regional teams. The sooner you get in touch the more you will benefit from our expertise and resources.

Watch a short animation describing our Study Support Service (2 minutes 30 seconds).

Are you in the right place? If your study is non-commercial or collaboratively funded click here.

What would you like to do?

Our Study Support Service: Industry Route Map has been developed with life science companies, for life science companies. It is the perfect interactive  tool for navigating all our services.

The Industry Route Map is a visual tool which illustrates the support that we provide at each stage of your research  journey.  It has handy stops along the way which  link to videos and other resources that will help you understand how that support works, and how to access it.

Key features include:

  • An easy to understand user guide which has also been written with life science companies, for life science companies and highlights the value of working with us.
  • A  section containing all the information you need to  get started which is especially useful if this is your first time working with us.
  • Links to our regional research teams across the England and to other organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Begin your journey


As of 1 October 2018 all NHS sites,  life science companies and/or Contract Research Organisations (CROs) conducting commercial contract clinical research in the NHS are mandated to use:

  • An unmodified model site agreement (also referred to as model contract or standard research agreement). These are nationally accepted contract terms which, when used without modification, will reduce delays caused by contract negotiations and legal reviews for each NHS site delivering your study.
  • The NIHR standard costing methodology which provides a framework for transparent cost display and calculation to support swift local site budget negotiations. This means less variation when defining resource requirements across the country,  better transparency in how that resource requirement is costed locally, and better predictability of overall study delivery costs. 
Find out more about how we are speeding up the costing and contracting process >>

Quick links

If your already familiar with our services you may want to use these quick links:


The primary aim of this service is to bring patients and life science companies together earlier in the clinical development process, before a study protocol is finalised, so that patients can help companies to make the trial design as patient-friendly as it can be.

It is available to all the life sciences industries, including Clinical Research Organisations (CROs).

Please note that this service is a ‘paid for’ extension of the NIHR Study Support Service and is based on a transparent and fair full cost recovery model.

All you need to do is complete a simple online form and we will use the information that you provide to seek appropriate patients to support your requirements.

Find out more about our Patient Engagement in Clinical Development service >>


All our NHS sites are connected through our national network - known as the NIHR Clinical Research Network  - which is made up of 15 Local Clinical Research Networks across England. Our dedicated, research-ready workforce of 10,000+ personnel  is embedded in the NHS in these 15 regions and works in partnership with NHS trusts locally to plan, set-up and deliver high quality research to target, within set timescales.

This research infrastructure is globally unique and enables national oversight of all the studies we support. It also enables us to target local support where, and when, it is needed.

The research we support is also facilitated  by 30 specialty therapy areas. Each of our 15 Local Clinical Research Networks has a research active NHS clinician (known as a specialty lead) for each of the 30 specialties. This provides us with rapid access to a vast breadth of clinical expertise to advise on and support the clinical research we deliver.

These two elements underpin our NIHR Study Support Service and help make the UK one of the top destinations globally for delivering clinical research.

  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
Find out more about our Clinical Research Network and specialties >>
View the Clinical Research Network's annual statistics >>
Contact your  Local Clinical Research Network >>

 Useful links

Contact details

Get started by  contacting the Study Support Service Helpdesk

If your study is already part of the NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio and you need support or help with investigators, site set-up, or recruitment issues, contact your local Industry Operations Manager for support.


More case studies

UK recruitment success in rare disease trial offers hope to GVHD patients

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Developing a mobile app to help manage type 2 diabetes

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Supporting Contract Research Organisations to find sites

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