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Identify investigators and sites for your research

A free, UK-wide service which enables commercial sponsors to rapidly gather expressions of interest to deliver your study from investigators and sites throughout the UK.

How we help you to quickly identify sites

Our site identification service will help you find the right sites for your research throughout the UK.  

We use our national Clinical Research Network and work with partner organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to quickly gather expressions of interest from sites that are willing to help conduct your study. This includes NHS sites in secondary care, (such as hospitals and patient recruitment centres), primary care (such as general practice and dentists), and the wider social care environment. If you have pre-selected some of your sites you can still use this service to secure further sites.

You only need to provide basic details of your study once, then we will do the rest. Interested sites will respond within 15 working days, often sooner. We will collate the expressions of interest for you, or your chosen Contract Research Organisation (CRO).

Once you have decided which sites are best suited to deliver your study, you can then engage directly with interested investigators and clinical teams for more in-depth selection and feasibility discussions.

Key benefits of this service 

  • Free: as with all our Study Support Services, this service is free. Learn more about what we mean by the term free
  • Reliable: the information returned will be up-to-date
  • Easy: minimises the resource required to identify multiple sites
  • Fast: you will receive expressions of interest within 15 working days
  • Efficient: leads into feasibility discussions with interested investigators and clinical teams
  • Inclusive:  provides equal opportunities for all UK sites to express interest in your research

Why our site identification service is inclusive

By using this service, you're providing an equal opportunity for all sites to express their interest in bringing your research to their patients. This inclusive approach helps ensure that the people taking part in your clinical trials are representative of those most in need. It is the only UK-wide site identification service.

Start identifying your sites

This service is requested via our Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS). If you have worked with us before, get started by logging into your CPMS account.

If you’re not familiar with CPMS, you may find our  10 step user guide for our Study Support Service helpful.

If you are new to the NIHR, or need more advice, fill out our simple contact form and request a chat with our friendly team.

What happens if I decide not to use this service?

If you choose not to use this service and instead use pre-selected sites, you will still need to inform us in CPMS to generate site-level costs at the costing stage via National Costing Value Review process.

It is important to be confident about the capacity and capability of pre-selected sites. In the UK, new measures have been introduced which improve visibility of studies that are not progressing to planned timelines and potentially holding up the flow of research opportunities to patients. If delivery issues cannot be resolved, NIHR research delivery resources could be redirected to support other studies to ensure that we can continue to provide patients with opportunities to participate in research.

Additional support to inform your site selection

Early advice on the feasibility of your protocol in the UK

Ideally, you will have already accessed our protocol feasibility review service before requesting our site identification support. The NHS clinicians or care specialists providing feedback on the feasibility and deliverability of your protocol in the UK may have already indicated early interest in supporting your research. You will also have a clear understanding of the healthcare setting you need to target for expressions of interest, such as primary, secondary, social or community care.

Work with Principal Investigators (PIs) of the future

Consider registering your study for the NIHR Associate PI Scheme as part of your site selection process. This initiative provides in-work training opportunities for healthcare professionals to gain practical experience in research delivery under the mentorship of existing Principal Investigators. As well as helping to build capacity for future research, you will also receive increased support at a site level. Read a peer-reviewed article which reports how the HEAL-COVID trial achieved 3.5 times higher recruitment levels at Associate PI Scheme sites.

Access data to gain insight to inform your site selection

CPMS is the only UK-wide system which collates real-time research activity data It helps us to understand and utilise all of the capacity in the system to deliver research as quickly as possible, and can help you decide which sites offer the best recruitment potential. Learn more about how data can be used to support study planning and placement.

Siteless and decentralised trial delivery

Our Direct Delivery Teams are transforming the way we support research delivery. These forward-thinking teams comprise highly skilled and experienced research delivery professionals. They are committed to innovating and path-finding non-traditional and agile approaches to research delivery that can span organisations, care settings, medical specialties and even geographies.

If your research requires something different to the traditional site-based approach, discover how we are delivering research beyond the hospital clinic web.

Related information

This is part of a suite of services that are collectively known as theNIHR Study Support Service. It is just one of the ways we work with life science organisations to help you to plan and deliver research in the UK.  Visit our NIHR support for industry page to discover our full range of support. You may also be interested  in: 

Contact us

If you are new to the NIHR or not sure where to begin, fill out our simple contact form to request a chat with our Industry team. We aim to reply as soon as possible and always within two business days.

Contact the Industry team