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NIHR Clinical Research Network appoints new Chief Executive


Dr William van’t Hoff has been appointed as the next Chief Executive of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN), following an open competitive selection process.

He will take up post full time from 1 April 2020, replacing Dr Jonathan Sheffield OBE who retires on 31 March.

As Chief Executive, William will lead the NIHR Clinical Research Network and oversee the delivery of its strategy to increase opportunities for people across the country to take part in clinical research.

Dr William van’t Hoff is an experienced paediatrician, having worked as a Consultant Paediatric Nephrologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH) since 1996. He is also currently the NIHR CRN’s Clinical Director for NHS Engagement, and Director of the NIHR GOSH Clinical Research Facility (CRF). He will be leaving his long term posts at Great Ormond Street Hospital to concentrate on his new role as Chief Executive of the NIHR CRN.

Prof Chris Whitty, DHSC Chief Scientific Adviser and co-lead of the NIHR, said: “I’m very pleased that Dr William van’t Hoff has been appointed Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network. His wealth of experience as a front-line NHS clinician and clinical research leader will prove a real asset - not just for NIHR - but for patients and the public across the country.”

“I would like to thank Dr Jonathan Sheffield for his fantastic work as Chief Executive. Since he took up the role nearly ten years ago, Jonathan has overseen a spectacular increase in the number of participants recruited to CRN-supported studies each year - from 564,000 to over 870,000. He oversaw the development of the CRN into a comprehensive national network - with the expertise, flexibility and structure in place to support the delivery of health and social care research across England. He has also been a very dynamic leader within NIHR as a whole. The NIHR, and health research, is in a far stronger place because of him. I look forward to the CRN’s continuing evolution under William’s leadership.”

Dr William van’t Hoff said: “I am hugely excited at the opportunity to build on the Clinical Research Network’s success in delivering high quality research which benefits society at large. It is important to hit the ground running as we must continue to evolve and develop as a Network to ensure we can respond to the health priorities and disease burdens we face, both now and in the future. Key to achieving this will be closer working with our existing partners, in addition to building new partnerships across the health and social care system. We must also make better use of technological advances to drive the pace, scale and reach of our support right across the country - so that people, wherever they live and whatever their health issue, have equal opportunity to participate in research for all our benefit.”

William has held leadership roles within NIHR since 2006. As the CRN’s Clinical Director for NHS Engagement, William spearheaded work with the Care Quality Commission to incorporate research within the inspection framework for trusts. In 2015, he received a NIHR CRN award for his work with the life sciences industry to improve opportunities for children to benefit from clinical trials of new medicines.

He has also held advisory roles with NICE and British National Formulary, and served as Chair of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Medicines Committee.