Why work with us?


Evidence suggests that patients who receive care in research-active institutions have better health out-comes than patients who are treated in a non-research environment, so by joining the research community you are actively helping to drive up the standard of healthcare for your patients. It’s also an opportunity for patients to better understand their health condition and feel like they’re giving some-thing back to the NHS.

Clinical research provides an enhanced career path that is intellectually challenging and highly rewarding. It provides an opportunity to spend more quality-time engaging with patients and the chance to learn new techniques and approaches to treatment.

Whether you work in primary care or a hospital setting, we can support you and your team to make sure you have the resources and funding available to get involved with clinical research and make a difference to patients now and in the future. 

Life sciences companies

The free support we provide helps the life sciences industry deliver high quality research in the NHS, which gives patients access to new treatments. We offer a range of services across the research pathway that will help study feasibility, set up and delivery to time and target. Regardless of study type, study size or therapy area of the research, we will provide consistent and high quality support throughout Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes. We have a team of dedicated advisers with a thorough understanding of the NHS research environment. Some of the things they can help you with include:

  • Regulatory approvals
  • Assistance with site identification
  • Guidance with the costings for a study



Study Support Service

Our Study Support team offers a bespoke service to enable a collaborative approach that responds to your overall study delivery. 

The Study Support team consists of highly skilled professionals dedicated to supporting researchers in the successful set up and delivery of high quality research enabling the study to reach its time and target in the NHS in England.  As a team we able to offer a first-rate service focusing on working with researchers to add value during study planning and set-up activities, specialising in supporting the facilitation of multi-site studies running in the Thames Valley and South Midlands Clinical Research Network.

Early contact and engagement:

We encourage researchers to come to us at the earliest opportunity so that we can provide the full range of benefits to you for your study, which include support with cost attribution, assistance with grant applications, protocol development and signposting to funders with calls for applications.

Early feedback:

The Study Support team are able to deliver comprehensive and efficient early feedback on your study, offering advice and guidance on study complexity, patient population, timelines and recruitment strategy.  The aim of this service is to optimise set-up and delivery of the study across multiple sites enabling the study to reach its milestones and targets.

Effective study set-up:

Our service uses a national approach to ensure that your study is set-up as quickly and efficiently as possible across all sites.  As a network we are able to build on central knowledge and skills to create a bespoke plan for your study.  We work closely with the research team to provide proactive solutions and recommendations to other networks and sites that enable R&D departments to assess site capacity and capability swiftly.

Site Identification:

We offer a national approach to site identification, through which all NHS Organisations and General Practices can be notified of your study and provide an expression of interest. Following which you can engage directly with the interested sites to enable site selection.

Optimising delivery:

For commercial studies with pre-selected sites, our site intelligence service forms part of the assessment to determine eligibility for access to CRN study support. It complements existing feasibility by using local site and study intelligence and expertise, including any competing or previous studies.

Performance monitoring:

Our data systems collate local site information providing study-wide oversight to support, proactive performance monitoring. Here at the CRN: Thames Valley and South Midlands our Industry Team and Research Delivery Managers work closely with the research teams and R&D departments to ensure that recruitment to time and target is attained. This enables early identification of any issues that may arise and enables a swift resolution.  For our Lead LCRN studies we also work closely with our Chief Investigators and the Sponsor Representative.


Primary Care

With the support of the Clinical Research Network, there has been a step change in research in primary care.

All 11 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) within the network’s area recruited patients in 2016/17, a year in which 64 per cent of practices took part in studies against a national target of 35 per cent.

More than 5,400 patients were recruited into studies, with Oxfordshire among the top performers in England, coming seventh for the number of people recruited per million head of population.

These successes have been driven by the network’s six-person facilitation team, which works closely with CCGs and practices to provide opportunities to conduct research, support to get trials up and running and training and development for practice staff.

The network provides funding for GP and nurse time to run studies and direct support is also available through the Peripatetic Clinical Research Nursing Service, a team of six nurses who work in surgeries to run studies, often alongside practice nurses, and training and development to enable staff to support research in the future. Further support is available to practices by four GP champions.

The nursing team worked with more than 50 surgeries in 2016/17 and a survey of 27 found 70 per cent said their overall experience of the service was excellent and 30 per cent said it was good. Also, 52 per cent said they had seen a significant improvement for the practice with 44 per cent saying they had seen some improvement.


Training, Learning and Workforce Development

In Thames Valley and South Midlands Clinical Research Network, we are committed to supporting the development, learning and retention of our Clinical Research workforce in order to build capacity and deliver research to the highest standards across the region.

The workforce development team coordinates the provision of nationally and locally designed research-related training topics including :

  • Good Clinical Practice (GCP): this is TransCelerate recognised and compliant with the ICH GCP E6 R2 Addendum.
  • Recruitment and consent training.
  • Courses supporting  study delivery.
  • Role and disease-specific events.
  • A monthly network wide induction webinar and webinar programme of training on topical research matters.
  • Training for principal investigators. 

Training is freely available to all staff that contribute to NIHR portfolio studies within Thames Valley and South Midland Clinical Research Network.

All courses are advertised and booked via a dedicated website https://learn.nihr.ac.uk/

We also support local, regional and national initiatives which aim to develop the capacity and capability of the research workforce and find practical solutions to enable research to be embedded within clinical settings.

Contact us on training.crnthamesvalley@nihr.ac.uk