Faster, easier clinical research

One of our objectives is to make research faster and easier with a focus on the outcomes of research so that the findings can benefit patients more quickly.

We work with partners including the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Health Research Authority (HRA) to simplify and streamline administrative and regulatory procedures to improve the initiation and delivery of research. This supports the nation's competitive advantage in life science industry research and helps realise our vision to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research.

Watch Professor Dame Sally C. Davies FRS FMedSci present on Faster, Easier Clinical Research.

Key measures 

  • Making NHS providers’ performance in starting and delivering research transparent and accountable, through changes to new NIHR contracts. It includes for clinical trials a 70-day benchmark to recruit first patients. Performance may affect funding. 
  • We use metrics to help monitor and manage performance of both individual NHS providers and of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) as a whole. The CRN reports on initiation and delivery, at network level, of all research within the NIHR portfolio. NHS Trusts with new NIHR contracts report their own site-level performance at initiating and delivering clinical trials, whether or not the trials are in the NIHR portfolio. The NIHR metrics summary explains the purpose, definitions and differences between the metrics for the CRN and the metrics for NHS Trusts.
  • Providing support to help the NHS improve performance, through the NIHR Research Support Services framework.
  • Working with the HRA to simplify approval processes for ethical research, including implementing an HRA unified approval process for research in the NHS.
  • Leadership Support and Development for R&D Managers and Directors through the NIHR Leadership Support and Development programme.  The programme fosters pro-active leadership by R&D managers as key contributors to the aims of NIHR through their vital role in supporting and enabling research in the NHS.   
  • Launching the framework tools and information to accompany the NIHR Research Support Services framework.
Champions for Research Support

Champions for Research Support disseminate messages throughout the NHS and act as advocates for effective research management and delivery to promote the outcome of faster, easier clinical research, fostering local connections, maintaining contact with local organisations and escalating issues nationally. 

Research Support Champions are hosted by the Health Research Authority (HRA) and meet regularly. Dissemination notes from their meetings are cascaded through local research management communities.