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NIHR makes it easier than ever to be part of research

Be Part of Research

Published: 10 June 2019


Research changes lives. It is through research that we can develop better treatments, as well as improve diagnosis, prevention, care and quality of life for everyone.

But this vital research is only possible thanks to hundreds of thousands of people who take part in research every year. These people help change lives and improve healthcare for us all.

The NIHR is determined to make it as easy as possible for the public to find out about research happening across the country and enable them to take part. That’s why we’ve launched our Be Part of Research study search site. Designed for the public, it makes information about research available to anyone who wants it.

The website also acts as a simple tool that busy clinicians and healthcare professionals can use to support patients who ask about research. In this way, it enables them to fulfil the pledge in the NHS constitution to inform patients about research opportunities, which give people the opportunity to access the best care and latest treatments.

Building on strong foundations

With a simplified navigation, improved search and filtering facility, and the ability to feedback on the usefulness of study information, the website builds on the success of the UK Clinical Trials Gateway (UKCTG), which has been operating for a number of years.

A key feature of the new Be Part of Research site is that it is designed from mobile-first principles meaning that you can find a research study wherever you are, perhaps in a waiting room or simply looking for research opportunities while on the go.

The site aims to help even more people volunteer to take part in research and support the goal in the NHS long term plan for a million people to participate in research studies in 2023/24.

For the public, by the public

As a site designed for the public, the redevelopment project has sought input from members of the public throughout the process to help ensure the service will be as useful as possible, and meet the needs of the people using it.

Before redevelopment began, more than 300 users of the existing UKCTG gave their feedback on the service which helped shape the strategies and plans for future. The Project Board includes a public representative to ensure public views are advocated, two members of the public reviewed the site fortnightly as part of the development review panel, and more than 400 users of the site signed up to regular email surveys to give their views on the website as it was developed.

Public user tester for the site, Lynn Laidlaw said:

“Be Part of Research website helps break down the barriers between people wanting to participate in research and people conducting research. I have a long term medical condition, research is very important to me because it gives me hope. The work of the NIHR means I can access the latest research opportunities, to benefit myself and potentially help others wherever I am in the UK.”

Just the beginning

The launch of the beta site is phase one in the planned programme of work. The Be Part of Research website will continue to improve based on user feedback and will develop over the coming months and years, with an ambition to become a hub linking to a range of research participation opportunities in the UK and plans to integrate with the new NHS app so that information about research can be accessed by as many people as possible.

Already being piloted is a new Application Programming Interface (API) that other organisations can use to integrate study information on their own website. The data source will be used by and available to health research charities, NHS trusts, charities and industry partners and others.

Simon Denegri, NIHR National Director for Patients, Carers and the Public said:

“Without patients, carers and healthy volunteers we couldn't deliver the more than 6000 research studies taking place in England each year. We want to make it easy for them to take part in studies and Be Part of Research now means that anyone across the UK can access information about studies at a time and place that is convenient.”

Visit Be Part of Research today.


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