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We are the NIHR Clinical Research Network West of England


We are the regional presence of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (region 7 on the adjacent map), delivering clinical research across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire (excluding south Wiltshire).

Our work increases the opportunities for patients to take part in clinical research and seeks to cement the place of research as a standard component of patient care, for patients and carers, healthcare professionals and NHS decision-makers.

What we do

We provide the local NHS with the support and facilities it needs to carry out research and we seek to demonstrate how the NHS is an attractive option for commercial pharmaceutical, biotech and medical technology companies looking to carry out industry-sponsored research.

We are hosted by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and work as an integrated network with NHS organisations throughout the West of England to help set up clinical studies quickly. We work to ensure they have the staff and support they need to deliver their studies on time and on target.

How we do it

  • We provide researchers with advice on the feasibility of studies, to ensure they can be practically delivered through the NHS.
  • We run systems to streamline the administration associated with gaining permission to run a clinical trial in the NHS, reducing the set-up time for trials.
  • We fund and support an infrastructure of around 250 trained research support staff in the local NHS, plus a small core team, so that researchers have access to experienced people to provide the NHS with the support required for their research.
  • We maintain a knowledge base of NHS sites and their research strengths and capabilities, for researchers to access as a resource.
  • We monitor the numbers of patients participating in individual trials, offering a trouble-shooting service to help studies that are falling behind with their recruitment targets.
  • We provide an extensive cost-free training programme encompassing the fundamentals of working in clinical research through to mandated clinical training.


Dr Kyla Thomas, Clinical Director, and Dr Sue Taylor, Chief Operating Officer, respectively provide the clinical and operational leadership of the West of England network.

Dr Thomas and Dr Taylor are supported by four Clinical Leads who are, in turn, supported by Clinical Research Specialty Leads and Sub-specialty Leads. They lead specialty research portfolio development through collaborative working across our partner organisations.

Our leads are provided with operational support by four Research Delivery Managers and a nurse consultant who oversee which studies are happening where and how they are performing, making sure new studies can get up and running efficiently.

Our partners

Our integrated network includes secondary care and mental health trusts and works alongside primary care organisations, clinical commissioning groups, consortia, academic collaborations and local health networks.

The Health Research Authority (HRA) Approval service replaced the NIHR Coordinated System for Gaining NHS Permission (CSP) at the end of March 2016 and is now the route for applying for approvals for all English-led, project-based research in the NHS. 


We provide support to help the Life-sciences industry deliver high quality research in the NHS, giving patients access to new treatments. This support includes a clinical research intelligence service and proactive study performance management to ensure studies are delivered as planned. The engagement with industry means our portfolio of studies is more diverse, clinicians and patients have more opportunities to be involved in clinical trials and commercial research funding benefits the NHS as a whole.

Working with patients, carers and the public

Together with our local health networks, we jointly fund People in Health West of England, a partnership to promote innovative and effective public involvement in research and evidence-based service improvement.