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Portfolio FAQs

E1. My study supports the establishment / running of a tissue bank, a disease registry, data bank, cohort or other resource which underpins a number of research studies, is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

No, a “research project” is defined as a structured activity which is intended to provide new knowledge which is generalisable or transferable. The establishment and running of tissue banks or disease registries does not, in itself, constitute a research project (as there is no “research question”) and these activities are therefore not eligible for Clinical Research Network (CRN) support. However, activities such as the collection and banking of biological samples, inclusion of patient details on a registry, or development of a patient cohort, which form an integral part of a structured research project, or research projects which utilise such resources, are eligible for CRN support (subject to meeting the other eligibility criteria).

Activity taking place under generic Research Tissue/ Databank Research Ethics Committee approval is not generally accepted. In exceptional cases support may be granted if the following are satisfied: (1) The research questions and anticipated outcomes are clearly stated; and (2) The research methodology to be used (in addition to methods of sample collection / processing / storage) are clearly described; and (3) Evidence is provided to confirm that that funding secured covers all research costs as well as sample collection / processing / storage; and (4) The outcome(s) can reliably be extrapolated from the subjects who participated to a broader patient population and a broader range of clinical settings


E2. My study supports the undertaking of a local service evaluation, is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

No, a “research project” is defined as a structured activity which is intended to provide new knowledge which is generalisable or transferable. The undertaking of a local service evaluation does not, in itself, constitute a research project (as there is no “research question”) and these activities are therefore not eligible for Clinical Research Network (CRN) support. However, if the evaluation (i) involves services delivered in more than one NHS / care organisations (eg. NHS Trust or care home); (ii) can be scaled across other organisations or services; and (iii) the outcome can reliably extrapolated from the subjects who participated to a broader patient population and a broader range of clinical settings, then this evaluation would be considered eligible (subject to meeting the other eligibility criteria) since the activity is generating generalisable or transferable new knowledge.


E3. My study is funded by the NIHR or other area of central government, is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

All funding streams administered by, and research commissioned from, central government sources (eg. Public Health England, NHS England, NICE, Research Councils) or any branch of the NIHR, that are provided for the primary purpose of undertaking research and not intended to support infrastructure (including NHS Service Support Costs), are considered automatically eligible for NIHR CRN support.

Studies funded by regional government awards including Academic Health Science Networks, Health Education England and Clinical Commissioning Groups are not considered eligible, even where the activity being funded is classified as ‘research’, as these awards are intended to support local, not national, activities.


E4. My study is funded by a non-commercial (non profit making) organisation (e.g. a medical research charity), is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

Non-commercial studies are eligible to receive NIHR Clinical Research Network support (CRN) if (1) the non-commercial organisation / funder is an NIHR non-commercial Partner and has self-declared that the funding stream supporting the study meets the Eligibility Criteria and (2) the study satisfies all other aspects of the Eligibility Criteria including the definition of research (see section 2.1).

NIHR Partners are non-commercial organisations that:

● Award research funds as a result of open national competition across England with high quality peer review; and
● Fund research that is of clear value to the NHS, social care or public health; and
● Take appropriate account of the priorities, needs and realities of the NHS, social care or public health in making decision about the research they fund.


E5. My study is funded by a university, college or local healthcare organisation, is it eligible for consideration for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

No, UK universities, colleges and local healthcare organisations (including NHS Trusts) do not fulfil the criteria for NIHR non-commercial Partner status, since funding does not meet the open competition requirement. Studies funded by these organisations are therefore not eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support.


E6. My not for profit organisation / charity funds medical research in England, can I be considered for NIHR non-commercial Partner Status?

Yes, non-commercial organisations which have not previously been deemed an NIHR non-commercial Partner can apply to be become an NIHR non-commercial Partner by completing the self-declaration form available on the NIHR Clinical Research Network website. By signing the self-declaration, funding organisations are confirming that the funding streams they administer meet the NIHR non-commercial Partner criteria as set out in the Department of Health and Social Care policy document “Eligibility for NIHR Clinical Research Network Support (January 2018)”.


E7. My study is funded as part of a programme or centre grant, is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

Individual studies funded as part of programme or centre grants are required to have undergone protocol peer review before they can be considered for NIHR Clinical Research Network support. Appendix 1 of the Eligibility Criteria (January 2018) policy document outlines the standard of peer review required. It is a Study Sponsor's responsibility to provide confirmation of appropriate peer review. Please note: For those individual studies funded as part of a NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research, confirmation that appropriate peer review has been undertaken will not be required if the study commences within two years of the start of the parent programme. This is because the individual studies detailed in the programme application have been peer reviewed by the NIHR prior to the award of the programme.


E8. My study is funded as part of a Research Training Award; can the work I do be supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network?

Individual studies funded as part of Research Training Awards are required to have undergone protocol peer review before they can be considered for Clinical Research Network support. Eligibility for NIHR Clinical Research Network support is determined on a study-by-study basis, with emphasis on the study rather than the activity of an individual. If you hold a Research Training Award won in open national competition from the NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre or an NIHR non-commercial Partner, and the specific project which you are working on underwent protocol peer review then no further peer review is required. However, if your project was not peer reviewed as part of the grant award process, confirmation that the study has been peer reviewed in line with the Eligibility Criteria will be required from the study sponsor before the study can be considered for Clinical Research Network support.

If your personal award is funded as an Investigator Initiated Trial, or by an overseas Government or overseas charity, the study will require formal consideration through the non-commercial extended review process. Confirmation that the specific project has been subject to high quality peer review according to the standards outlined in Appendix 1 of the Eligibility Criteria (January 2018) policy document will be required.


E9. My study is supported by several non-commercial funding organisations, how is eligibility determined?

A non-commercial study supported by multiple funders is automatically eligible for consideration for NIHR Clinical Research Network support if (1) one of the funding stream is administered by the NIHR, other area of central Government or an NIHR non-commercial Partner that has self-declared the individual stream to be ‘eligible’ and (2) the study satisfies all other aspects of the Eligibility Criteria including the definition of research (see section 2.1).

If none of the funders include the NIHR, other area of Central Government or an NIHR non-commercial Partner then the study may still be considered for Clinical Research Network support via the non-commercial extended review process.


E10. My non-commercial study is supported by a funding stream which has multiple funding partners; how is eligibility determined?

The eligibility of studies that are supported by a funding stream which has multiple funding partners will be determined by the organisation who has managed the funding competition, specifically the peer review process. For example, the Stroke Association and the British Heart Foundation operate a joint programme grant funding stream. The Stroke Association manage the funding competition, including the peer review process and so it is the Stroke Association who would be required to self-declare with respect to this funding stream.


E11. My study is funded by an overseas Government, is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

Studies that are funded by overseas Governments are considered for eligibility for CRN support via the non-commercial extended review process. Studies need to demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Department of Health and Social Care policy document “Eligibility for NIHR Clinical Research Network Support (Jan 2018)”. In order to meet the criteria of open competition and high quality peer review, the funding call from the overseas government must have been open to all qualified individuals in England to apply (as lead or co-applicant), or, where the study is an international collaboration led from overseas, for all qualified individuals within the lead country to apply and for participation to have been open to all qualified sites in England. Such studies have a medium priority for Clinical Research Network support.


E12. My study is funded by a non-commercial (non profit making / charitable) organisation operating solely outside England, is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

Studies that are funded by a charity operating solely outside of England are considered for eligibility for CRN support via the non-commercial extended review process. Studies need to demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Department of Health and Social Care policy document “Eligibility for NIHR Clinical Research Network Support (Jan 2018)”. In order to meet the criteria of open competition and high quality peer review, the funding call from the charity must have been open to all qualified individuals in England to apply (as lead or co-applicant), or, where the study is an international collaboration led from overseas, for all qualified individuals within the lead country to apply and for participation to have been open to all qualified sites in England.


E13. My study is funded by an award (fellowship / studentship) from an overseas government/charity, is this eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

Research funded following open international competition and high quality peer review by overseas governments or charities is considered for Clinical Research Network (CRN) support via the non-commercial extended review process. In order to meet the criteria of open international competition, the funding call must have been open to all qualified individuals in England to apply (as lead or co-applicant), or, where the study is an international collaboration led from overseas, for all qualified individuals within the lead country to apply and for participation to have been open to all qualified sites in England.

Therefore, where a foreign government has funded one of its nationals (ie award made to one individual) to conduct research or training overseas without any element of international competition or collaboration, the study funded by this award will not be eligible for CRN support.


E14. My study is funded and supported by an NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

Funding for NIHR Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) is “self-contained” i.e. funding for both research costs and NHS infrastructure for research (including NHS Support costs) are included in the award. The funding goes directly to the contracted NHS/University partnership and formal partners in each of these NHS/University collaborations. Studies which are fully funded as part of a BRC programme, and within the contracted NHS/University partnership and formal partners, will not therefore require additional research infrastructure support from the NIHR CRN.

Multi-centre, non-commercial, BRC studies may require NIHR Clinical Research Network support if an additional collaborating site/s (i.e. not the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners) is involved and requires support.

In addition, where studies conducted in/led by NIHR BRCs are in receipt of funding from other NIHR research programmes, NIHR non-commercial Partners or other areas of central government (including research councils), support, including NHS Support Costs, may be sought from the NIHR CRN. Please note that this does not extend to single centre investigated-initiated or industry-collaborative research, and research funded by overseas organisations or ineligible funding streams. The NHS Support Costs for these should be met through the NIHR BRC award (as outlined in the BRC award documentation produced by NIHR Central Commissioning Facility). Furthermore, where early translational (experimental medicine) research funded through the BRC funding scheme is conducted within a Clinical Research Facility (CRF) funded by NIHR, the NHS Support Costs associated with the research should be funded from the NIHR BRC funding award.

NIHR BRC led studies deemed eligible for ‘additional’ NIHR support from the CRN will be added to the NIHR CRN Portfolio. Recruitment data should be provided for all UK sites (i.e. both the CRN and the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners- BRC sites) and mapped in line with guidance.

It is recognised that the requirement for NIHR CRN support may change during the lifecycle of the study, for example a fully funded BRC study(within the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners) may need to open in new CRN supported sites to achieve the study’s recruitment target. Should this situation arise an application for NIHR CRN support should be made following discussion with the local CRN.


E15. My study is funded and supported by the NIHR BioResource, the NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative (HIC) or a Translational Research Collaborations (TRCs) is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

Additional NIHR Infrastructure support is provided through the NIHR BioResourceNIHR Health Informatics Collaborative (HIC) and three Translational Research Collaborations (TRCs). These awards are made, via BRC contract variations, to organisations/groups of organisations already in receipt of BRC awards. Therefore the same principles apply to BioResource, HIC and TRC supported studies as to those supported by BRC awards (see E12).


E16. My study is funded and supported by an NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs) is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

Funding for NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs) is “self-contained” i.e. funding for both research costs and NHS infrastructure for research (including NHS Support costs) are included in the award. The funding goes directly to the contracted NHS/University partnership and formal partners in each of these NHS/University collaborations. Studies which are fully funded as part of a CLAHRC programme, and within the contracted NHS/University partnership and formal partners, will not therefore require additional research infrastructure support from the NIHR CRN.

Multi-centre, non-commercial, CLAHRC studies may require NIHR Clinical Research Network support if an additional collaborating site/s (i.e. not the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners) is involved and requires support.

In addition, where studies conducted in/led by NIHR CLAHRCs are in receipt of funding from other NIHR research programmes, NIHR non-commercial Partners or other areas of central government (including research councils), support, including NHS Support Costs, may be sought from the NIHR CRN. Please note that this does not extend to single centre investigated-initiated or industry-collaborative research, and research funded by overseas organisations or ineligible funding streams. The NHS Support Costs for these should be met through the NIHR CLAHRC award.

NIHR CLAHRC led studies deemed eligible for ‘additional’ NIHR support from the CRN will be added to the NIHR CRN Portfolio. Recruitment data should be provided for all UK sites (i.e. both the CRN and the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners- CLAHRC sites) and mapped in line with guidance.

It is recognised that the requirement for NIHR CRN support may change during the lifecycle of the study, for example a fully funded CLAHRC study(within the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners) may need to open in new CRN supported sites to achieve the study’s recruitment target. Should this situation arise an application for NIHR CRN support should be made following discussion with the local CRN.


E17. My study is funded and supported by an NIHR Patient Safety Translational Research Centres (PSTRCs) is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

Funding for NIHR Patient Safety Translational Research Centres (PSTRCs) is “self-contained” i.e. funding for both research costs and NHS infrastructure for research (including NHS Support costs) are included in the award. The funding goes directly to the contracted NHS/University partnership and formal partners in each of these NHS/University collaborations. Studies which are fully funded as part of a PSTRCs programme, and within the contracted NHS/University partnership and formal partners, will not therefore require additional research infrastructure support from the NIHR CRN.

Multi-centre, non-commercial, PSTRCs studies may require NIHR Clinical Research Network support if an additional collaborating site/s (i.e. not the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners) is involved and requires support.

In addition, where studies conducted in/led by NIHR PSTRCs are in receipt of funding from other NIHR research programmes, NIHR non-commercial Partners or other areas of central government (including research councils), support, including NHS Support Costs, may be sought from the NIHR CRN. Please note that this does not extend to single centre investigated-initiated or industry-collaborative research, and research funded by overseas organisations or ineligible funding streams. The NHS Support Costs for these should be met through the NIHR PSTRCs award (as outlined in the PSTRCs award documentation produced by NIHR Central Commissioning Facility).

NIHR PSTRCs led studies deemed eligible for ‘additional’ NIHR support from the CRN will be added to the NIHR CRN Portfolio. Recruitment data should be provided for all UK sites (i.e. both the CRN and the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners- PSTRCs sites) and mapped in line with guidance.

It is recognised that the requirement for NIHR CRN support may change during the lifecycle of the study, for example a fully funded PSTRCs study (within the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners) may need to open in new CRN supported sites to achieve the study’s recruitment target. Should this situation arise an application for NIHR CRN support should be made following discussion with the local CRN.


E18. My study is funded and supported by an NIHR Medtech and In vitro diagnostic Co-operatives (MICs) is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

Funding for Medtech and In vitro diagnostic Co-operatives (MICs) is “self-contained” i.e. funding for both research costs and NHS infrastructure for research (including NHS Support costs) are included in the award. The funding goes directly to the contracted NHS/University partnership and formal partners in each of these NHS/University collaborations. Studies which are fully funded as part of a MIC programme, and within the contracted NHS/University partnership and formal partners, will not therefore require additional research infrastructure support from the NIHR CRN.

Multi-centre, non-commercial, MIC studies may require NIHR Clinical Research Network support if an additional collaborating site/s (i.e. not the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners) is involved and requires support.

In addition, where studies conducted in/led by NIHR MICs are in receipt of funding from other NIHR research programmes, NIHR non-commercial Partners or other areas of central government (including research councils), support, including NHS Support Costs, may be sought from the NIHR CRN. Please note that this does not extend to single centre investigated-initiated or industry-collaborative research, and research funded by overseas organisations or ineligible funding streams. The NHS Support Costs for these should be met through the NIHR MIC award (as outlined in the MIC award documentation produced by NIHR Central Commissioning Facility).

NIHR MIC led studies deemed eligible for ‘additional’ NIHR support from the CRN will be added to the NIHR CRN Portfolio. Recruitment data should be provided for all UK sites (i.e. both the CRN and the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners- MIC sites) and mapped in line with guidance.

It is recognised that the requirement for NIHR CRN support may change during the lifecycle of the study, for example a fully funded MIC study (within the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners) may need to open in new CRN supported sites to achieve the study’s recruitment target. Should this situation arise an application for NIHR CRN support should be made following discussion with the local CRN.


E19. My study is supported by another NIHR Infrastructure award but requires additional CRN support, how can I apply for this?

Where possible an application should be made, prior to opening, in the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS): Select "No" to question 5a on the IRAS Project Filter form, this generates question 5b. Select "Yes" to Question 5b “Do you wish to make an application for the study to be considered for NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Support and inclusion in the NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio?"

NIHR Infrastructure led studies deemed eligible for ‘additional’ NIHR support from the CRN will be added to the NIHR CRN Portfolio. Recruitment data should be provided for all UK sites (i.e. both the CRN and the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners- Infrastructure sites) and mapped in line with guidance.

It is recognised that the requirement for NIHR CRN support may change during the lifecycle of the study, for example a fully funded NIHR Infrastructure study(within the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners) may need to open in new CRN supported sites to achieve the study’s recruitment target. Should this situation arise an application for NIHR CRN support should be made following discussion with the local CRN.


E20. My study is being conducted within a Clinical Research Facility for Experimental Medicine, is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

NIHR funding for Clinical Research Facilities (CRFs) does not include funding for research costs. All NIHR CRF supported studies therefore require external funding for research costs which will determine eligibility for NIHR Clinical Research Network Support and inclusion in the NIHR CRN Portfolio.

The purpose of NIHR funding for CRFs is to meet the necessary recurrent NHS infrastructure costs of CRFs. This includes funding to meet NHS Support Costs. Therefore the need for any “additional” NHS support from the Clinical Research Network should be considered on a case-by-case basis at a local level.

To note: where early translational (experimental medicine) research funded through the BRC funding scheme is conducted within a Clinical Research Facility (CRF) funded by NIHR, the NHS Support Costs associated with the research should be funded from the NIHR BRC funding award.

NIHR CRF supported studies deemed eligible for ‘additional’ NIHR support from the CRN will be added to the NIHR CRN Portfolio. Recruitment data should be provided for all UK sites (i.e. both the CRN and the contracted NHS/ University partnership NIHR CRF sites) and mapped in line with guidance.

It is recognised that the requirement for NIHR CRN support may change during the lifecycle of the study, for example an NIHR CRF supported study may need to open in new CRN supported sites to achieve the study’s recruitment target. Should this situation arise an application for NIHR CRN support should be made following discussion with the local CRN.


E21. My study is being conducted within an Experimental Medicine Cancer Centre, is it eligible for NIHR CRN support?

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMCs) are funded jointly by Cancer Research UK (CRUK), the NIHR in England, and the Health Departments for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In England the CRUK/NIHR ECMCs are joint University/NHS partnerships. The purpose of funding is to meet the costs of research infrastructure (via the CRUK element of funding to the University partner) and the costs of NHS infrastructure for research including NHS Support Costs (via the NIHR element of funding to the NHS partner). Funding is not intended to meet the direct research costs of individual studies. As CRUK is an NIHR Non-commercial Partner, all studies supported by an ECMC award are technically eligible for consideration for NIHR Clinical Research Network support and hence inclusion in the NIHR CRN Portfolio. However, as NIHR funding for ECMCs includes some funding for NHS Support, “additional” NHS support from the Clinical Research Network will be considered on a case-by-case basis at a local level and studies which are fully funded as part of a ECMC programme, and taking place solely within the contracted NHS/University partnership, will not usually be accepted.

Multi-centre, non-commercial, ECMC studies may require NIHR Clinical Research Network support if an additional collaborating site/s is involved and requires support.

In addition, where studies conducted in/led by ECMCs are in receipt of funding from other NIHR research programmes, NIHR non-commercial Partners or other areas of central government (including research councils), support, including NHS Support Costs, may be sought from the NIHR CRN. Please note that this does not extend to single centre investigated-initiated or industry-collaborative research, and research funded by overseas organisations or ineligible funding streams. The NHS Support Costs for these should be met through the ECMC award.

NIHR ECMC led studies deemed eligible for ‘additional’ NIHR support from the CRN will be added to the NIHR CRN Portfolio. Recruitment data should be provided for all UK sites (i.e. both the CRN and the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners- ECMC sites) and mapped in line with guidance.

It is recognised that the requirement for NIHR CRN support may change during the lifecycle of the study, for example a fully funded ECMC study (within the contracted NHS/ University partnership and formal partners) may need to open in new CRN supported sites to achieve the study’s recruitment target. Should this situation arise an application for NIHR CRN support should be made following discussion with the local CRN.


E22. My study is public health research, can it be considered for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?


Yes, the purpose of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) is to provide infrastructure support for the initiation and delivery of high quality research which benefits the NHS, including relevant research into public health. Public health research studies, regardless of study setting (ie conducted within or outside NHS settings), which meet the CRN Eligibility Criteria, are able to receive support through the Clinical Research Network’s Study Support Service. NHS Support (or the equivalent of NHS Support in non-NHS settings) can be provided for attributed activities, as defined by ‘AcoRD’ - the Department of Health and Social Care guidance for attributing the costs of health and social care research. For studies funded by NIHR non-commercial Partner charities who are also members of the Association of Medical Research Charities, support will extend to the provision of ‘Part B Research costs’, as outlined in the AcoRD Frequently Asked Questions.

To be considered eligible a public health research study must meet the definition of research; have appropriate ethical approval (e.g. NHS Research Ethics Committee (REC), Social Care REC, Ministry of Defence REC, or REC approval from a University); and Health Research Authority (HRA) Approval where required, and have full research funding (i.e. funding to meet all Research Costs in compliance with the AcoRD


E23. My study is a social care research study taking place in a non-NHS setting, is it eligible for NIHR Clinical Research Network support?

On 1 January 2018 the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) began a phased implementation to extend its support into social care research taking place in non-NHS settings. Social care research studies (taking place outside NHS settings) which are funded by the NIHR School for Social Care Research or Policy Innovation Research Unit (Policy Research Programme of the Department of Health) and which meet the CRN Eligibility Criteria, are able to receive support through the Clinical Research Network’s Study Support Service. NHS Support (or the equivalent of NHS Support in non-NHS settings) can be provided for attributed activities, as defined by ‘AcoRD’ - the Department of Health and Social Care guidance for attributing the costs of health and social care research. For studies funded by NIHR non-commercial Partner charities who are also members of the Association of Medical Research Charities, support will extend to the provision of ‘Part B Research costs’, as outlined in the AcoRD Frequently Asked Questions.

To be considered eligible a social care research study must meet the definition of research; have appropriate ethical approval (e.g. NHS Research Ethics Committee (REC), Social Care REC, Ministry of Defence REC, or REC approval from a University); and Health Research Authority (HRA) Approval where required, and have full research funding (i.e. funding to meet all Research Costs in compliance with the AcoRD) from the NIHR School for Social Care Research or the Policy Innovation Research Unit.


E24. My study does not consent participants or the activity does not meet the NIHR CRN definition of recruitment, is it eligible for NIHR CRN support?

Yes. All studies which meet the Eligibility Criteria for Clinical Research Network (CRN) Support are included on the NIHR CRN Portfolio regardless of whether or not the study consents participants or whether the activity meets the NIHR CRN definition of recruitment.