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UK clinical research ecosystem continues to build on learnings from COVID-19 research

Published: 14 December 2021

The UK Clinical Research Recovery, Resilience and Growth Programme (RRG) has this week published an update detailing the key milestones that have been achieved in the 6 months since the publication of “The Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery” 2021/22 implementation plan.

NIHR is one of the key delivery partners of the RRG Programme, a cross-sector, UK-wide coordinated programme of work aiming to:

  • Ensure the restoration of clinical research activity that was underway pre-COVID, 
  • Maximise opportunities to build back a better and more resilient clinical research system,
  • Deliver on the commitment to make the UK the leading global hub for life sciences.

The update sets out what the RRG delivery partners have already accomplished, and provides detail on further work that the programme is looking to deliver.

NIHR has led and is contributing to a number of important pieces of work including:

  • Leading a managed approach to the recovery of the UK clinical research portfolio on behalf of all UK partners. Over 290 studies are now part of the managed recovery process and are in active set-up, open to recruitment, or in follow-up stage. At time of publication, 30 studies have completed recruitment and are in follow-up stage. 
  • Creating more capabilities for the Be Part of Research website, making it more easy for the public to find research that is relevant to them.
  • Launching a new UK-wide professional accreditation scheme for Clinical Research Practitioners and an Associate Principal Investigator scheme. Both schemes will increase research capacity and capability in our workforce. NIHR also ran its annual Your Path in Research campaign aiming to inspire more UK health professionals to get involved in research. 
  • A range of activities to make clinical trials more diverse and to strengthen public, patient and service user involvement in research. 

William van’t Hoff, Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network said:

“This update shows the breadth of work that is happening across the clinical research ecosystem, to take learnings from the pandemic and improve how research is delivered in the UK. The NIHR has been working closely with our partners in the RRG Programme to deliver the UK’s ambitious vision for clinical research and make research more innovative, efficient and diverse in order to benefit patients across the country. 

“We are still experiencing challenging times, with increasing pressure on the NHS and the ongoing impact of COVID-19. We thank everyone who has worked tirelessly to make sure patients and the public continue to have the opportunity to take part in research.” 

The RRG programme is now planning for the next phase of work and will publish the phase two implementation plan in Spring 2022.

You can find more information about what the NIHR and other RRG partners have achieved in the full Update.


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