Suggest an idea for research

Why do we need research?

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.

Sometimes we discover a new product is no more effective than the old - perhaps cheaper - product; sometimes we discover an accepted approach is ineffective; and sometimes we show that a new way of doing things really is worth the effort and expense of implementing a major change.

Getting the whole picture

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 to make your research suggestions.

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Make your suggestion now!

What goes into a good suggestion?

It can be quite varied - see example research suggestions by selecting the links below

Tell us about your suggestion


Your idea

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.


Any personal information you provide is held and used in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. The Department of Health, National Institute for Health Research (DH NIHR) is the Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998 (‘the Act’). Under the Data Protection Act, 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 DH NIHR bodies for the purposes of statistical analysis and other DH NIHR management purposes. Applicants may be assured that DH NIHR is committed to protecting privacy and to processing all personal information in a manner that meets the requirements of the Act. We will not pass your details to any third party or government department unless you give us permission. You can ask for your details to be removed from our database at any time.

What do we do next?

We compare  your suggestion with existing or ongoing research, seek advice from patients or carers and then our team of researchers and our panels of outside experts and members of the public decide what research we should be trying to commission next.

The details of the research we need is then advertised to researchers who compete to provide the best project to give us the evidence. When the project is complete we publish full details of all the findings and methods – whatever the outcome of the research. It includes a Plain English summary clearly and concisely explaining the main points for members of the public. Visit the NIHR Journals Library to see we’ve already done, and what is in the pipeline.



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.

Make your suggestion now!

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.

 Make your suggestion now!

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.

 Make your suggestion now!

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.

Make your suggestion now!