Internet Explorer is no longer supported by Microsoft. To browse the NIHR site please use a modern, secure browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

Explore our services and support for the life sciences industry

This page summarises all of the services the NIHR provides to life science organisations, most of which are free. We can work with you at any stage of your clinical development pipeline, from providing expertise to aid early-stage development to supporting the design, set-up and delivery of your study protocol in the UK’s NHS and wider social care system.

If you would like any further information, or have any questions, contact the Industry team

Life Sciences Industry Information Service

Our Life Sciences Industry Information Service is a free, one-to-one consultation with our dedicated Industry team.

Gain insights into the UK research ecosystem and NIHR's role within it. Identify the best NIHR services for your research and learn how to get started. 

Expertise Partnering Service - streamlining access to expertise

Our free Expertise Partnering Service works as a matchmaking service, connecting you to the right clinical, care or research expertise, funding programmes, research facilities, and health data services for your innovation.

Learn more about our Expertise Partnering Service

Funding opportunities for the life sciences industry

Learn about funding programmes your company is eligible for, how to apply, and available support after you have successfully been awarded funding. Get help to find suitable NHS or academic partners for your collaborative application, if required.

Learn more about funding opportunities for industry

Access patient samples and health data to conduct your research

Access research-ready patient samples and anonymised health datasets to conduct your research quicker. We can also support you to curate data and develop machine learning models.

Use our research activity data to support trial planning

Use our our freely accessible research activity data to explore what research has already taken place to evaluate if there is a gap in the market or an unmet clinical need. Analyse where similar trials are ongoing or upcoming to inform your decisions on how, where and when to conduct your research. 

More about research activity data

Engage with patients and the public to improve your research design

Collaborate with patients and the public to design participant-friendly clinical trials which will help you meet UK regulatory requirements regarding patient involvement. *This service operates on a full cost recovery basis.

More about our Patient Engagement in Clinical Development Service

Feasibility: Ask NHS clinical experts to review your protocol

Use this free service to access clinical and care experts who can help optimise your protocol for faster and more efficient delivery in the UK and/or check your proposed protocol is compatible with UK health and care practice. You may also receive early expressions of interest from potential investigators via this service.

Find out if your protocol is deliverable in the UK

Identify investigators and sites for your research

The only free, UK-wide service to rapidly identify potential investigators and sites from across the NHS, general practice, social care and beyond. This equitable approach enables all sites, nationwide, to express their interest in bringing your research to their patients and helps ensure that the people taking part in your clinical trials are representative of those most in need.

More about identifying investigators and sites

Costing and contracting using National Contract Value Review

Learn about National Contract Value Review (NCVR) - the UK-wide, standardised approach to costing and contracting for commercial contract research - and the tools you will need to use to complete the process. The NCVR is proven to speed up the costing and contracting activities for commercial sponsors setting up multi-site studies.

Learn about NCVR and the interactive Costing Tool

Recruit participants using our digital engagement tools

Explore our range of digital tools and systems that can help promote your study to participants and directly support recruitment. Research registries like Be Part of Research can help you to find healthy volunteers and patients to take part in your research - potentially offering a quicker and more cost-effective for recruitment. This data source can also support feasibility decisions.

Learn about digital engagement tools

Streamline your study set-up and monitor progress

Free support to help you to streamline study set-up across multiple sites and achieve a more consistent, collaborative and efficient approach to site initiation. Once your study is up and running, access our national network and tools to help monitor progress against your study milestones.

Streamline your study set-up and monitor progress

Biomedical Research Centres - expertise in translational research

Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) are centres of expertise that support the advancement of early-stage research and lab-based breakthroughs. They facilitate collaborations between world-leading academics and research-active NHS clinicians to translate early scientific discoveries into potential innovative treatments, diagnostics and health technologies.

Learn more about our BRCs

HealthTech Research Centres - specialist support for medical technology

HealthTech Research Centres (HRCs) help medical device, diagnostic, healthtech, software and digital companies to develop, evaluate and validate new healthcare solutions, technologies and In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) tests. This includes help to generate health economics evidence and real world evidence.

Learn more about our HRCs

Translational Research Collaborations - academic and clinical expert networks

Translational Research Collaborations (TRCs) are ready-formed networks of experts from the UK’s leading universities, NHS trusts and research centres in predefined therapeutic areas. They can help to accelerate the development and delivery of your early-phase, translational research and develop your ideas from a very early stage through to a mature project suitable for a funding application.

Learn more about our TRCs

Clinical Research Facilities - specialist early-phase research centres

Clinical Research Facilities (CRFs) are state-of-the-art, purpose built facilities based in NHS hospitals that specialise in designing and delivering early phase and high-risk studies. This includes first-in-patient trials and high-intensity studies requiring overnight stays.

Learn more about our CRFs

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres - translational oncology support

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMCs) are a network of specialist centres dedicated to accelerating the development of new cancer treatments. Their world-leading cancer researchers, clinicians, and healthcare professionals work with commercial companies to deliver early phase and complex oncology studies.

Learn more about our ECMCs

Patient Recruitment Centres - dedicated to delivering commercially-sponsored research

Our Patient Recruitment Centres (PRCs) are purpose-designed to deliver late-phase and large-scale commercial clinical research in the NHS and wider health and care environment. They are the only family of NIHR-funded research facilities that are 100% dedicated to delivering commercial research. They are patient-focussed and support innovative research delivery techniques such as decentralised and hybrid trial delivery.

Learn more about our PRCs

Clinical Research Network (Research Delivery Network from 1 April 2024)

Our Clinical Research Network (CRN) is divided into 15 regions covering the whole of England. Through this network structure we organise and deploy day-to-day research delivery support. This includes the management of the NIHR-funded research workforce of over 14,000 people. Their role is to help health and care providers (sites) to deliver your research and to engage with patients and the public locally to encourage participation in high-quality research.

Learn more about the CRN

Training collaborations - Invest in the researchers of the future

We work in partnership with the life sciences industry, including SMEs, to build research expertise, capacity and capability in areas of shared interest by co-funding research career development opportunities, such as research awards and fellowships. Find out how you can co-fund awards and fellowships.

Learn how your organisation can invest in the researchers of the future

Additional information

In our Insights for Industry section you will find useful articles and helpful guides such as:

  • Our guide to the UK research ecosystem
  • Why you should bring your research to the UK
  • Is your research inclusive?

Browse our Spotlights on UK research delivery section on research strengths and capabilities such as:

  • The UK Vaccine Innovation Pathway
  • Complex Innovative Trials
  • Delivering research beyond the hospital clinic
  • Decentralised clinical trials