Our support

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) provides researchers with the practical support they need to make clinical studies happen in the NHS. This support covers every stage of research, from set up to delivery.

We provide world-class health service infrastructure - research support staff such as clinical research nurses, and research support services such as pharmacy, pathology and radiology - to support organisations seeking to conduct clinical research in the NHS in England. Some of this research is funded by the NIHR, but most of it is funded by NHS non-commercial partners and industry. We also supported the set up and delivery of clinical research in the NHS through our study support service.

We are working with researchers and primary care practitioners such as GPs, practice nurses, pharmacists and dentists to promote the successful delivery of research studies in the NHS. We support a wide range of research including studies which look at:

  • Promoting a healthier lifestyle
  • Disease diagnosis and prevention
  • Management of long-term illnesses such as diabetes or hypertension
  • Prevention of future ill-health
  • Treating common conditions such as tonsillitis or influenza

Where there are considerable overlaps with other specialty areas, for example diabetes, mental health and cardiovascular disease, we work closely with our colleagues from across the Network to deliver high quality research in a primary care setting.

You can find out more about Primary care studies in your area through the UK Clinical Trials Gateway.

National Primary Care Clinical Specialty Leads

Each of our 15 Local Clinical Research Networks has at least one nominated local Clinical Specialty Research Lead for Primary care. These clinicians lead research groups to promote and support Primary care health research within the NHS Trusts in their area.

At a national level the local leads come together to manage the national Primary care health clinical research portfolio. This involves regularly reviewing the progress of studies, identifying barriers to recruitment, and coming up with solutions and strategies to help overcome those barriers. Our National Specialty Group of clinical experts offer advice and support to commercial and non-commercial customers looking to conduct research in the NHS.

Meet our National Specialty Group Members


Primary Care Specialty leaflet

Information about the Primary Care Specialty

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Primary Care specialty profile

Find out how the Primary Care Specialty can support the Life Sciences Industry.

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Research Codes in Primary Care

A manual to facilitate the use of Research Read codes for supporting the delivery of research in general practice, produced by the National Primary Care Specialty Group. The research codes is approved by the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre and are available on all GP clinical computer systems. They enable a patient's level of involvement in research.

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The General Practice Podcast

Associate Professor Philip Evans, NIHR Clinical Research Network National Specialty Lead for Primary Care, talks about the role of research in general practice.