Run your study in the NHS

From feasibility, to site selection, to monitoring performance, we provide the life sciences industry with a flexible package of free support to help plan, place and successfully deliver clinical research in the UK to time and target. Our support is available to all life science industries (including pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics and medical technology industries and Contract Research Organisations) regardless of location, study type, study size, or therapy area. 

New Patient Recruitment Centres

Our five new national Patient Recruitment Centres are the first family of NIHR research facilities that are 100% dedicated to delivering commercial research.

Design patient-friendly trial protocols

Our Patient Engagement in Clinical Development Service enables life science companies gain patient insight on proposed clinical trial protocols.

Deliver complex and innovative trials

Read a range of case studies describing how we have been delivering novel, complex and innovative clinical trials over the last decade in the UK.

Helping you to deliver your study in the NHS and wider care environment

We do this by working in partnership with the NHS and social care providers to deliver high quality commercial clinical research. Our dedicated, research-ready workforce of 10,000+ personnel is embedded throughout our health and care services across England. All our NHS sites are connected through our national network. This enables national oversight of all clinical research activity and local targeting of support through our regional teams.

We support our customers throughout their entire research journey, but there are three key areas where our Study Support Service can really make an impact on the success of your study. These are: Plan, Place and Perform.


We provide a range of support to help you plan your clinical study or trial. All you need to get started is a study outline or draft protocol. We can help you to:


We work at a national level and a site level which means that we have unparalleled access to a wide range of data and intelligence which can help you to place your study more strategically, and more successfully. We can help you to:

  • Identify sites for your study
    Our Site Identification service utilises our national Clinical Research Network to to gather expressions of interest to deliver your study from investigators throughout the NHS, including general practice (primary care).
  • Access our research and site intelligence services
    Ask our national team to advise where the best recruitment potential lies, or use our local site and study intelligence data to sense check your recruitment targets for pre-selected sites and optimise delivery of your study.
  • Experience faster costing and contracting
    Quicker, consistent and more cost effective. The UK’s unified approach to commercial research costing and contracting can support your site selection strategy and minimise negotiation time during study set-up. 


Once your study is approved we’ll work with you at a local and national level to get your sites up and running and to monitor its performance. We can help you:

  • Streamline your study set-up
    We know how important it is to get from approval to recruitment. Our national network will work with you to identify obstacles and share solutions to get all of your sites open quickly and efficiently.
  • Keep your research on track
    We will work with you to ensure your research project is making progress by monitoring study-wide performance and targeting support through our regional teams as required.

Further help to access our services

A Study Support Service Route Map has been developed with the life sciences industry, for the life sciences industry. It is a helpful guide to accessing our support.

You may also be interested to know how our services complement the paid-for support services that are provided by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

If you have not developed your protocol or acquired funding yet contact our Signposting Service to learn how we can support you.

“We were aware that the UK had a health research system embedded in its national health service that could potentially help us enroll quickly, and this positively influenced our decision to conduct a trial in the UK. We were [also] keenly aware of the UK’s Urgent Public Health response and process. Our first port of call when bringing the trial to the UK, after the protocol was approved by MHRA, was to work with NIHR to ensure rapid recruitment and enrollment that would ideally provide a near-term view of NVX-CoV2373’s efficacy.”
Wendy Talbott, Senior Director of Clinical Operations at Novavax, March 2021

Working across the UK

Our network is for the NHS in England, but you can be assured that we work collaboratively with our colleagues in Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland to enable a smooth and quick research delivery experience across the UK.

Contact us

Get started by  contacting the Study Support Service Help desk

If your study is already part of the NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio and you need support or help with investigators, site set-up, or recruitment issues, contact your local Industry Operations Manager for support.

“Without NIHR support, I don’t believe that we would have been so far in our journey and be at this stage; ready for the study to go live in the next couple of months. And I also don’t think that, as a company, we would really understand how we would develop our evidence strategy at this stage in our life cycle.”
Jonathan Abraham, CEO and Co-founder, Healum

Related pages


External links

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