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NIHR Clinical Research Network to support broader range of research studies

Date: 12 December 2017

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) will be extending support into health and social care research taking place in non-NHS settings.
The Department of Health has agreed an important change to the criteria that describes which clinical research studies can benefit from CRN support; this includes expert advice and support to plan, set up and deliver research efficiently.

The change to the policy will mean the CRN can support research conducted outside of NHS settings, such as studies running in care homes or in hospices, which will answer important questions for those patient populations. The CRN will also be able to better support research into public health, for example in schools and other community settings.

This change to the ‘Eligibility Criteria for NIHR Clinical Research Network Support’ policy is a way in which the NIHR is addressing the evolving health and care landscape and the changing needs of people and patients.

CRN Research Delivery Director Clare Morgan explains: “This integrated approach is all about wrapping research around a person’s needs, from prevention to treatment, to care and support for those living with long term conditions. The NIHR must ensure that the right research is delivered in the most appropriate setting, to drive better outcomes for patients, and the policy change reflects this. Ultimately it’s about providing greater opportunities benefiting more people and patients across health and care settings.”

Phased rollout

The CRN will monitor the implementation of this policy change over a 12-month period, with a phased rollout from 1 January 2018. Recommendations will then be made to the Department of Health on the impact of delivering CRN support to research in non-NHS settings.
Initially, CRN support will be extended to:

  • Public health research studies outside of NHS settings
  • Social care research studies outside of NHS settings, which are funded by the NIHR School for Social Care Research
  • Other studies taking place outside of NHS settings e.g. hospices

As part of the phased implementation, the CRN will make recommendations about extending support more widely for social care research.

Additional details

From 2018, the CRN will be able to support the set up and delivery of research studies in non-NHS settings through the CRN Study Support Service. The equivalent of NHS Support will be provided for attributed activities, as defined by ‘AcoRD’ - the Department of Health 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.

For further information, please email

The new policy effective from 1 January 2018.

  • Summary:
    The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) will be expanding support into research carried out in non-NHS settings to benefit more people and patients across a wider mix of health and care settings.
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