Are you looking to run a study in a NHS, public health or social care setting?

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) can help you to navigate the systems and processes to get your study up and running and deliver high quality research.  

For studies eligible for the NIHR CRN Portfolio, we will work with you, R&D offices, funders and other stakeholders to deliver your study to time and target.

Study Support Service

It all starts with our Early Contact and Engagement service. Through a conversation with our Local Clinical Research Networks, you will benefit from tailored advice for your study, even before you have secured funding. Email the Study Support Service team on to find out more.

Each study is assessed to ensure it meets the Department of Health and Social Care’s Eligibility Criteria. Eligible studies are included on the CRN Portfolio and continue to benefit from the range of support services we offer. Assessment is made using the information you submit into Integrated Research Approval System (IRAS) or, for those studies that do not require submission through IRAS, information supplied by your Local Network.

We can also help you to find suitable sites to undertake your study through our Site Identification service. Your Local Network can work across England to gather expressions of interest from sites to take part in your study. You can discuss this with them anytime throughout the life cycle of your study.

After we have gathered information from you about your study, we Optimise Delivery of your study by undertaking a study  wide assessment which identifies and highlights any challenges to study delivery - enabling a proactive approach to study set-up.

Through our Effective Study Set-up process, we overcome any identified challenges by sharing a study-wide action plan with all final sites - which provides advice and guidance to efficiently set the study up.

Once your study is open to recruitment, you will be allocated a Performance Review Lead, who will work with you and other relevant study contacts to ensure proactive Performance Monitoring of your study, which delivery to  time and target.

Support will also be given to researchers in applying for excess treatment costs to ensure that study attribution complies with Department of Health and Social Care guidance and facilitates payments to NHS providers.

Guidance for sponsors, sites and researchers:


On behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the NIHR set up a UK-wide portal for applying for funding and/or prioritised support for urgent public health research into COVID-19. Find out how to get your COVID-19 study prioritised for NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) support.

The NHS Health Research Authority (HRA) has also published guidance on health and social care research during the COVID-19 pandemic.

INCLUDE: Improving inclusion of under-served groups in clinical research

As part of the INCLUDE programme, the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) developed the following guidance to aid research teams in making health research more inclusive and to ensure under-served cohorts are more fairly represented in health research:

Integrated Research Intelligence System (IRIS) / Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS)

Find out about the NIHR Integrated Research Intelligence System - a suite of digitally connected research information systems which record essential information about studies. You can also find a series of CPMS user guides by logging in to NIHR Learn.

Commercial contract studies

If your study is fully commercially sponsored and funded, visit our Study Support Service for Industry page.

Contact us

If you require any further assistance, or are unsure where to start, please email the Study Support Service Helpdesk:

Find out more

Watch the animation below for an animated insight into the Study Support Service. Find out what it involves, how you can benefit and how to find out more about it.

Related pages


External links