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Suggest a research topic

Video transcript

Providing the most effective health and social care is a huge challenge. There are so many products and procedures in use, with more being developed all the time, but often there is little good evidence about what works and what doesn’t.

We commission and fund projects looking at the usefulness of new and existing tests, treatments and devices and at new and existing ways of doing things. We also look at how to improve public health to see what really works in practice.

To make good decisions about what research to fund we need a complete and balanced picture about which questions most urgently need answering. We ask patients, carers, clinicians, health care workers, service managers and researchers. Whoever you are, we need your voice too. Use the form below, with help from the examples, to make your research suggestions.

Your idea will be seen by our research funding programmes and, if suitable, taken to one of our decision-making committees that prioritises research for funding.

We receive a large number of valuable research suggestions each year. Not all of these can be funded. However, our research funding programmes work closely with patients, members of the public, users of social care services and carers as well as health and social care experts, to ensure our research will answer the most pressing questions. To find out if your question has reached a committee please contact

Example: Birthplace

What should we test? 

Where’s the best or safest place to have a baby?

Who is it for?

Pregnant women.

Help us understand what difference the evidence could make to patients and the public, the NHS or social care.

Although women are offered a choice where to have their baby; in hospital, in a birthing centre or at home, it doesn’t seem clear which is the best or safest. It is important to find this out because it would help women and healthcare professionals make an informed choice. It could also help to reduce the costs.

Example: Peanut allergy

What should we test?

Does oral immunotherapy help children with peanut allergy?

Who is it for?

Children with peanut allergy.

Help us understand what difference the evidence could make to patients and the public, the NHS or social care.

Peanut allergy is very common in the UK and can be life threatening. Patients live in fear of accidentally eating peanuts, are restricted on their food choices and must carry epipens at all times. Due to lack of treatment, the only option is to avoid peanuts and many have accidental reactions. A treatment would be life changing for these patients.

Example: Street lighting, accidents and crime

What should we test?

Does reduced street lighting lead to more accidents and crime?

Who is it for?

The general public.

Help us understand what difference the evidence could make to patients and the public, the NHS or social care.

Local Authorities are reducing levels of street lighting by using dimmer lights or turning lights off at a set time, often midnight. Some members of the public & media think that this could lead to increases in crime or road casualties. Research is needed to see if this is actually happening and to find out if there are other effects on public health and wellbeing.

Example: Chondroitin supplements

What should we test?

Does Chondroitin work for osteoarthritis in the hand?

Who is it for?

Patients who have painful osteoarthritis in their hands.

Help us understand what difference the evidence could make to patients and the public, the NHS or social care.

A friend of mine takes chondroitin for osteoarthritis in her hands and says it helps with the pain and swelling. I have asked my doctor if I can get it on prescription, but she said that it isn’t a prescription drug. I have looked it up on the internet and there are some sites that says it works for some people. It is easy to get hold of online as a remedy for arthritis. Arthritis is a painful disease which affects a lot of people, and if it’s in your hands it really affects what you are able to do. I think we should test chondroitin properly to see if it helps in hand osteoarthritis and if it does, it should be made available on prescription.


Your idea

The NIHR funds a wide range of research – see if the area you are interested in has been funded

A question which can be researched needs to be specific – tell us what existing product or procedure needs to be evaluated.

Is there a particular group for this test? Eg: Pregnant women, children with allergies, older men, the general public?

Is it about quality of life and/or length of life? Will it save time and/or money?


About you

Providing contact information is optional, but enables our staff to clarify details of your research suggestion, should they need to.

Have you had any input/influence from patients, carers and/or members of public when creating your suggestion? (required)

Use of your personal information

By completing this form you are agreeing to your details being added to our databases.

Your personal information is held and used in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (2018). The Department of Health and Social Care, NIHR is the Data Controller under GDPR. Under GDPR, we have a legal duty to protect any information we collect from you.

You should be aware that information given to us might be shared with other DHSC NIHR bodies for the purposes of statistical analysis and other DHSC NIHR management purposes. We also reserve the right to share details of research applications with other approved research funding organisations outside the NIHR in order to coordinate research activity in the UK. Information collected from you will not be passed to any third party outside the NIHR without your consent, except specifically as detailed above, or where we are under a statutory obligation or entitled to do so by law.

Applicants may be assured that DHSC NIHR is committed to protecting privacy and to processing all personal information in a manner that meets the requirements of GDPR.

View the NIHR Privacy Policy  (opens in a new window)