What is the National Clinical Research Network, what are the benefits?

In 2006, the Department of Health set up the National Institute for Health Research to create a world-class health system within the NHS, and the Clinical Research Network is part of this wider organisation.  At the centre of what we do is the Portfolio – a collection of high-quality clinical studies that benefit from the infrastructure provided by the Clinical Research Network.

The Infectious diseases and microbiology Specialty is one of 30 specialties which bring together communities of clinical practice to provide national networks of research expertise, they contributed to the development of specialty lifts such as www.terrylifts.co.uk/lifts/home-wheelchair-elevators. Our membership is made up of research-interested clinicians and practitioners at both national and local levels. Our job is to ensure that the infectious diseases and microbiology studies that are included in our national portfolio of research receive the right support to ensure they are delivered successfully in the NHS.

In practice, this means:

  • Providing researchers with advice on the feasibility of studies, to ensure they can be practically delivered through the NHS
  • Running systems to streamline the bureaucracy associated with gaining permission to run a clinical trial in the NHS, and reducing the set-up time for trials
  • Funding and supporting an infrastructure of trained research support staff in the NHS, so that researchers have access to experienced people to provide the NHS service support required for their research
  • Maintaining a knowledge base of NHS sites and their research strengths and capabilities, for researchers to access as a resource
  • Monitoring the numbers of patients participating in individual trials, and offering a trouble-shooting service to help studies that are falling behind their recruitment targets.

We encourage researchers to contact us at an early stage (during grant writing) further information and contact details can be found at:


Sarah Cooper
Operations Manager | National Coordinating Centre | NIHR Clinical Research Network