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NIHR launches call to fund new commercial research centres

Published: 26 April 2024

The NIHR has launched a new, open competition to designate and fund Commercial Research Delivery Centres (CRDCs). This programme builds upon the successful current NIHR Patient Recruitment Centre scheme.

The CRDCs will be centres of excellence dedicated to advancing delivery of commercial research. They will also bolster the capability and capacity of health and care organisations nationwide.

What the CRDCs will do

The CRDCs will accelerate the delivery of commercial clinical research for the benefit of the health and wealth of the nation. They will work with industry and other research delivery infrastructure to support the UK’s status as one of the best places in the world for innovative companies to bring their portfolio of research.

The CRDCs aim to: 

  • provide dedicated staff and facilities to conduct commercial research
  • provide access to a network of commercially active sites with gold standard set-up times and performance, standardised costing and contracting, and dedicated staff and facilities with consistency of practice
  • develop a hub and spoke model at more established commercial research sites to support the decentralisation of clinical trials to primary, community and social care settings, to make taking part in research as easy as possible
  • drive innovation and act as a test bed for pioneering approaches to delivering commercial research
  • increase research inclusion to ensure people from all eligible communities and those living with the greatest burden of disease can participate in clinical trials
  • work collaboratively with all parts of the clinical research infrastructure
  • work to provide training to enhance skills and workforce development to build further capacity in commercial contract research
  • support and contribute to a newly convened CRDC Network, working as a good citizen across the NIHR CRDCs and equivalent centres in the devolved nations

A substantial investment of up to £77.125m over seven years, starting from 1 April 2025, will fuel the establishment and operation of these new centres.

Professor Lucy Chappell, CEO of the NIHR and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “I welcome this exciting new competition for NIHR Commercial Research Delivery Centres which will support research from innovative commercial companies to bring access to new treatments to patients for a wide range of health conditions.

“The CRDCs will work with the other NIHR Infrastructure to ensure people can participate in commercial clinical trials no matter where they live in the country through the establishment of research delivery hubs across settings. This is an important contribution to the call for person-centred trials set out in the UK Clinical Research Delivery Vision.”

The CRDCs will respond to the five pillars of the UK Clinical Research Delivery Vision

  • clinical research embedded in the NHS
  • patient-centred research
  • streamlined, efficient and innovative research
  • research enabled by data and digital tools
  • a sustainable and supported research workforce

They will also align with the future direction for research delivery set out in the Government’s response to the O’Shaughnessy Review.

Find out more about this call and apply now.

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