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Working with other funders of health research

UK Research Councils

Medical Research Council

The NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme is a partnership between the NIHR and the Medical Research Council (MRC) that bridges the gap between preclinical studies and evidence of clinical efficacy. It funds ambitious studies evaluating interventions that have the potential to make a step-change in the promotion of health, treatment of disease and improvement of rehabilitation or long-term care.

The MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre is co-funded with the MRC. It offers broad access to a world-class capability in metabolic phenotyping and a multidisciplinary team of specialists in biochemistry, the analytical platforms and informatics. It works with researchers as both an integrated collaborative research programme or on a fee-for-service basis depending on the researchers’ needs. The centre is led by Imperial College London and King's College London.

Economic and Social Research Council

The NIHR is collaborating with the Economic and Social Research Council on a joint dementia research initiative to boost social science research in dementia, with the goal of creating a step change in social science funding of dementia from small projects to a critical mass of expertise.

The first round of this joint initiative in 2012 provided £20 million for six research projects on dementia interventions and care. The projects have involved people with lived experience of dementia as co-researchers, advisors and participants, and have developed social science methodology and capacity in dementia research.

A second round of funding from this joint initiative in 2018 awarded £15 million of new research funding to four projects that will run for five years and start in January 2019.

Other funders we collaborate with

UK Prevention Research Partnership

The UK Prevention Research Partnership is an alliance of research funders who have agreed to commit £50m to support research into the primary prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The vision is to generate new insights into actionable, sustainable and cost-effective ways of preventing NCDs that will improve population health and reduce health inequalities in the UK. The research should address the ‘upstream’ determinants of NCDs and be co-produced with users (e.g. policy makers, practitioners, health providers, the third sector, the public etc.). The ‘upstream’ determinants include, but are not limited to, the built and natural environment; employment, education, welfare, transport, health and social care, and communication systems; and the policies of local and central government and of commercial enterprises.

Cancer Research UK

We fund 14 Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMCs) across England in close partnership with Cancer Research UK. The ECMC Network aims to act as an efficient and effective network that will assist in the delivery of early phase cancer studies between research partners to enable faster and more personalised patient benefit.

Alzheimer Scotland, Alzheimer's Research UK and Alzheimer's Society

Join Dementia Research (JDR) is an initiative led by the NIHR in partnership with Alzheimer ScotlandAlzheimer's Research UK and Alzheimer's Society. It works to increase public awareness for dementia research and improve study recruitment, providing researchers with access to thousands of potential volunteers who want to be involved in research.

Any member of the public can register as a volunteer to get involved in supporting dementia studies. Researchers are also encouraged to identify potential participants, screen and contact volunteers and participate in feasibility studies. The JDR initiative has organised campaigns in the NHS in order to raise awareness amongst staff and help them engage with patients better.

Government bodies

NHS England

NHS England and NIHR work in partnership through the National Research Collaboration Programme (NRCP), combining their expertise to commission robust clinical studies to develop the evidence base to support future commissioning (routine NHS funding) decisions. There is a focus on studies that may otherwise present significant challenges and not progress, for example where there is a small cohort size for rarer conditions or treatments.

For agreed topics, workshops are held with researchers, NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and other research experts with the aim of reducing the time required to design studies and gain funding agreement.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)

NIHR Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs) are NIHR-funded research partnerships between leading universities and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) that act as centres of excellence in multidisciplinary health protection research in England.

The role of the HPRUs is to support UKSHA in delivering its objectives and functions for the protection of the public’s health in a number of topic-based priority areas, such as healthcare associated infections and antimicrobial resistance; health impact of environmental hazards; and immunisation.

NHS Blood & Transplant

NIHR Blood and Transplant Research Units (BTRUs) are NIHR-funded research partnerships between leading universities and NHS Blood & Transplant (NHSBT). The BTRUs support the needs of NHSBT for research to improve the supply of blood, blood products, stem cells and tissues, and organs for transplantation.


For more information on how you can work with us, get in touch.