Systematic Reviews

Systematic reviews identify, evaluate, combine and summarise the findings of all relevant individual studies, to provide decision makers with the best possible information about the effects of tests, treatments and other interventions used in health and social care.


We support the production of systematic reviews through two funding streams:

  • The NIHR Cochrane Programme Grant Scheme aims to produce high quality systematic reviews that are of direct benefit to users of the NHS in England. This call runs every three years and is not currently open.
  • The NIHR Cochrane Incentive Awards are available to Cochrane Review Groups to facilitate, and possibly accelerate review activity that is already planned or under way.

For those producing reviews, we also offer the following:


Cochrane UK provides training and support to Cochrane entities and contributors to the Cochrane Collaboration in the UK, Ireland, and internationally.

Two workstreams focus on “learning & development” and “engagement” with a research programme supporting these activities. Learning and development opportunities are provided for a broad range of key NHS stakeholders including patients and the public; healthcare workers; and policy makers and commissioners, these activities forming an important part of the engagement strategy. Cochrane UK is a key link between the Collaboration, the Cochrane reviews and the National Health Service, and promotes evidence-based decision-making and systematic reviews in general and Cochrane reviews in particular. For more information see the Cochrane UK's Annual Reports. 

Cochrane Review Groups

The NIHR funds the infrastructure costs for the 21 NIHR-funded Cochrane Review Groups (CRGS). The NIHR CRGS, all based in academic or health institutions in the UK, cover a wide range of areas of healthcare including dementia, depression, heart disease, oral health, palliative care, pregnancy and childbirth and schizophrenia. We manage the contracts of these groups on behalf of the NIHR. A full list of the groups, their contact details and further information from their websites can be found through this link


Support for complex reviews

The Complex Review Support Unit provides specialist expert advice to those producing reviews, of complex methodology. 

The unit is made up of collaboration between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Leicester University and lead by the University of Glasgow, providing advice on methodological fields such as Diagnostic Test Accuracy, Network Meta-Analysis, Individual Patient Data/Clinical Study Report Meta-Analysis, Causal Pathway Analysis, Economic Evaluations, Non-randomised studies, Prognostic reviews, Prevalence reviews, Realist synthesis, Qualitative Analysis and Use of routine data. 

To access this support, please complete and submit a proforma application. The proposed review must already have secured funding. Applications will be reviewed on an ad-hoc basis, but no less than every 6 months and will be measured against the following criteria:

  • Degree of complexity suitable for CRSU support
  • Clinical importance to the NHS
  • Ability and capacity of the applicants to complete the work

Contact us

We offer a wide variety of assistance during all stages of the research process. If in doubt, please get in touch.


The NIHR SR Programme is funded by the NIHR, with contributions from the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) in Scotland, Health and Care Research Wales, and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.