Our Support

Stroke is the fourth biggest killer in the United Kingdom, and a leading cause of disability. There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year. Over 1.2 million people in the UK living with the consequences of stroke.

Stroke research matters. It has meant:

  • treatment to remove the clots that cause the most common type of stroke
  • new and safer blood thinners to prevent stroke in people with an irregular heart beat
  • stroke units offering specialist acute treatment and rehabilitation that significantly reduces death, and increases the chances of living without disability at home

Research in numbers: the National Institute for Health Research recruited over 18,000 participants across 140 stroke studies in 2017/18.

National Stroke Clinical Specialty Group

Each of our 15 Local Clinical Research Networks has at least one nominated local Clinical Specialty Research Lead for stroke studies. These clinicians lead research groups to promote and support cardiovascular disease research within the NHS trusts in their area.

At a national level the local leads come together to manage the national stroke 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

Hyperacute Stroke Research Centres

The UK has a unique research infrastructure set up to deliver stroke studies across the entire stroke pathway. Sites which are able to provide consistent NHS infrastructure, capacity and capability to support a portfolio of stroke studies requiring advanced neuro-imaging, specialist interventional skills and rapid enrolment of patients have been designated Hyperacute Stroke Research Centres (HSRCs).

The accreditation, supported by the NIHR CRN Stroke Specialty, provides sites with an increased support infrastructure to deliver complex interventions within the first nine hours of stroke onset. This includes drugs and device studies.

The marked impact these accredited centres have had on research performance and patient outcomes, has recently been published in the Health Research Policy and Systems journal. Read more here 


Are you a patient or carer, a life sciences company or a health and social care professional? The NIHR can support you in your research journey.

Patients and carers

Patients and carers are at the heart of NIHR-supported clinical research. New and better stroke treatments and services are only made possible because people take part in our research.

More than 660,000 people helped the NHS improve healthcare and develop life-saving treatments by taking part in NIHR supported clinical studies in 2016/17. Join in and make a difference. Learn more about the  NIHR in your area.

Life sciences companies

The NIHR provides the infrastructure to make stroke research happen in the NHS. It includes a dedicated workforce of trained, skilled and experienced research professionals. Right now over 10,000 front-line research delivery staff working throughout the NHS are funded or part-funded by the NIHR. 

We work with companies on the full range of research studies from early stage, translational research through to later stage clinical trials in the NHS. Our Study Support Service is free of charge and helps the life sciences industry plan, set up and deliver high quality research to time and target in the NHS in England. 

Health and care professionals

The NIHR supports health and care professionals to lead and deliver stroke research, and to train as the next generation of stroke researchers.

We are committed to attracting, developing and retaining a highly skilled health and care research workforce, a prerequisite for the nation’s capability to undertake and attract world-class health research.