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How to conduct commercial COVID-19 research in the UK

On behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care, the NIHR has established a UK-wide portal for applying for prioritised support for urgent COVID-19 research. Where appropriate, applications that are successful receive Urgent Public Health Research national priority status. 

Initiate Urgent COVID-19 Research

In the UK, COVID-19 research is being prioritised by the Government and support is available to companies, through the NIHR, to fund, expedite, coordinate and deliver these studies.

We have streamlined the research set-up process in the UK by establishing a single, collective UK system-wide approach involving NIHR, Public Health England, UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), the Health Research Authority (HRA), Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and others.

This process includes support to assess the feasibility of your research protocol as well as assessing NHS capacity and capability to deliver your study. We will also expedite site identification and ensure appropriate geographical distribution of your study to maximise recruitment and minimise over-commitment of resource. Ethics and regulatory approvals (MHRA approval and HRA approval) will be progressed in parallel.

Studies badged as Urgent Public Health Research will receive expedited study set-up and delivery support like Novartis and Synairgen:

Apply for Urgent Public Health Research national priority status

Restarting Paused Research 

During the peak of the pandemic only Urgent Public Health research was considered a priority. As we have entered a new phase of the pandemic, where the number of new cases of COVID-19 is declining in some areas, the time is now right to work toward the restoration of the NIHR’s diverse portfolio of research.

The NIHR has developed a ‘Framework for restart’ which is a guidance document to support local decision-making.  Read the full article.

For further information:

  • If you have questions about the pausing or restart of a clinical study:
  • If you are from a company wanting to be connected to the NIHR's expert researchers:  

Useful links

Contact us

Phone: 00 44 113 34 34 555