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NIHR supports broader range of research studies

Published: 11 January 2019

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) has extended support into health and social care research taking place in non-NHS settings.

The Department of Health and Social Care 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, agreed last year and implemented from 1 January 2018, means 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. 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. Ultimately it’s about providing greater opportunities benefiting more people and patients across health and care settings.

Phased rollout

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

Initially, CRN support has been 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

The CRN is now able to support the set up and delivery of research studies in non-NHS settings through the CRN Study Support Service which is free of charge for industry-sponsored studies. The equivalent of NHS Support will be provided for attributed activities. Funding of study-related activities for research sponsored by industry will require full cost recovery from industry as outlined in AcoRD - the Department of Health and Social Care guidance for attributing the costs of health and social care research.

For further information, please email

The new policy effective from 1 January 2018.

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