Healthcare professionals undertake a range of roles in clinical research. Whether they're leading research in their field of interest, a co-applicant or principal investigator for studies, advising sponsors or sites about the shape and feasibility of their research or taking a leading and essential role in recruitment and delivery of studies - every role and every professional is important. 

As a healthcare professional you’ll find a range of resources to support colleagues in getting involved with research, and help you to encourage more patients to take part in research.

Watch the clinical research is everyone's future video and download the poster

Healthcare professionals have a pivotal role to play in promoting participation in clinical trials to patients and the public.

You can also view shorter versions of the clinical research is everyone's future video:

You can also download our workforce poster.

Career pathways for research nurses and clinicians

Clinical research, and the progress that comes with it, cannot happen without healthcare professionals. Healthcare professionals play a vital part in the delivery of high quality, patient centred clinical research across the NIHR. 

Liz Moore, NIHR paediatric research nurse, describes her role and how she got involved in research and why she feels it so important in the NHS.

You can find out about how research nurses can make a difference in this leaflet.

What do NIHR research nurses love about research nursing?

Watch these short interviews filmed at the NIHR 'Contributing to new futures: Clinical research nurses, voices that lead' event held on International Nurses Day.

Clinical research nurses describe what they find most rewarding about their work and the benefits research brings to patients.


Trainees explain how the NIHR has helped them to develop a career in research in this short video.

Improving healthcare through clinical research (MOOC)

Everything we do in healthcare has to be discovered and thoroughly evaluated before it can be put into practice. 

NIHR created a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) which examines how research contributes to the treatment of diseases, and examines the process of conducting research and the ethical questions raised. This course is open to anyone who would like to learn more about research.

Register for our MOOC here

Signposting patients who are interested in research

Patients might be interested in clinical research for a variety of reasons, or ask about what treatment options are available to them. It is useful to know where to signpost patients to so here are a few suggestions:

  • The UK Clinical Trials Gateway lets you search for clinical trials that are recruiting by condition and geographic area, and provides you with contact details for the trial teams. 
  • Join Dementia Research connects volunteers who would like to participate in dementia studies with researchers. 
  • The I Am Research website provides a range of tools and resources related to getting involved in research.
  • If a patient is interested in research you could make their clinical team aware, so that they can identify appropriate research studies for the patient to take part in. 

This short animation addresses some of the questions healthcare professionals might be asked about research, and how you might answer them.

You can also learn more about how other clinicians have successfully signposted patients to research from this short video - Patient conversations

I Am Research

"I Am Research" gives patients, the public and health and social care research professionals a chance to shout about how fantastic research is. We aim to raise awareness of the benefits of research and the positive impact it has on people's lives.

The campaign produced a set of materials that can be used to share the benefits of research. You can download all of these materials in a zip folder here. Alternatively you can find the individual download links below:

You can contact your Local Clinical Research Network to ask them about "I Am Research". You can find your Local Clinical Research Network through NIHR in your area.  

Success stories

Our 'success stories' are short case studies highlighting successful initiatives that have had a transformative effect in embedding research into normal clinical practice. You can view all of these case studies on our success stories page.

Alternatively, you can jump straight to our nursing success stories. This section includes both text and video case studies that can help to inspire participation in research, and highlights initiatives that can make research better. 

Useful links

UK Clinical Trials Gateway

Allied Health Professionals Strategy 2018-2020

NIHR Support for Trainees

Clinical Research Nursing Strategy 2017-2020