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Access research activity databases to help plan your trial

Discover clinical research activity data that can help you to plan and assess the feasibility of new research projects and clinical trials.

How can research activity data support trial planning?

When you are planning health and care research it’s helpful to develop an in-depth understanding of the existing research landscape. Knowing what research has already taken place, where similar trials are ongoing and how many studies are upcoming will:

  • help you to evaluate if there is a gap in the market or an unmet clinical need and;
  • inform your decisions on how, where and when to conduct your trial.

Access national research activity data (self service)

The NIHR Clinical Research Network supports between 5,000 and 6,000 studies each year in England alone. We collate UK-wide real-time research activity data and make it freely accessible via our public data platform. This tool enables different ways of viewing this data to support decision-making, such as:

  • Feasibility: Visibility of real-time research activity data can provide evidence to support feasibility assessments, country bids to run global trials and can be included in submissions for UK regulatory approvals. It may also help you to assess whether an appetite exists among investigators and patients to take part in your study.
  • Site identification: Visibility of real-time research activity helps us to understand and utilise all the capacity in the health and care research system to deliver research as quickly as possible. We can help you to identify where the best recruitment potential lies and avoid placing your study where similar trials are ongoing and which may affect the pace of your recruitment.

The research activity data is self-service, but if you are new to the NIHR you may benefit from requesting support from our friendly Industry team for help or advice.

Unlock deeper insight and intelligence from data

Extracting optimum insight and intelligence from our data requires specialist skills and support. Increasingly, commercial sponsors are choosing to adopt a partnership approach when working with us. This collaborative way of working enables sponsors to benefit from deeper insight and intelligence to support study pipeline planning, as well as individual studies.

For example, our rapidly expanding data capabilities now enable us to compare external data sets, such as public health data, disease prevalence, and population and socio-economic data, against real-time research activity data. As well as supporting feasibility and site identification, it can help us to improve inclusion of under-served groups in clinical research and ensure that the people taking part in your clinical trial are representative of those most in need.

Organisations working in partnership with us will receive support to query this data.  

How data is collected: Sponsor Engagement Tool

These insights are only possible if we have a comprehensive view of all the research taking place. It’s crucial that we collect data on study milestones and targets from all study sponsors. In the UK new terms and conditions have been introduced which allow NIHR research delivery support to be withdrawn from studies where study data is not adequately maintained. This enables valuable resources to be redirected to support studies that we know are deliverable, so that we can continue to provide patients with opportunities to participate in research.

We have developed a Sponsor Engagement Tool to provide an efficient and effective way for sponsors (and their delegates) to provide regular assessments of study progress and ensure the data we hold is up-to-date. Once your study is open, support is provided to ensure you can access and use our Sponsor Engagement Tool. View a 7 minute video about the Sponsor Engagement Tool.

ScanMedicine - an overview of the health technology innovation landscape

ScanMedicine is a comprehensive database of clinical trials and medical devices information.

It provides users with open access to the development pipeline underpinning health technology innovations so that they can understand new research in their area of interest and up-and-coming medicines, devices and diagnostics.

This free NIHR resource collates information from 11 major health databases from around the world and presents up-to-date search results in an accessible format. It captures clinical trial records hosted on national and international clinical trials registries and medical device approval data from the FDA.

NIHR Open Data

The NIHR is the UK’s largest funder of health and care research. NIHR Open Data allows you to view information on all NIHR research funding awards that have been active since 1 April 2011. The information is updated 4 times a year and contains basic information about the health and care research awards funded by NIHR, such as:

  • Award Title
  • Chief Investigator details
  • ORCiD identifier where available
  • Contracted organisation details

You can also view key statistics about NIHR research awards and view where the funded activity takes place around the world.

Health data and samples to conduct your research

We can also help you to access health data and patient samples to conduct your research.

Related information

This is just one of the ways we help life science organisations to conduct 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