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NIHR Restart Advisory Group terms of reference


19 June 2020


1.0 - 19 June 2020



The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 led the NHS to suspend many routine clinical services and the NIHR to prepare to support the Government’s research response. Subsequently, the decisions taken in March 2020 by research sponsors, funders, investigators and study sites to pause some non-COVID research, and by the NIHR Clinical Research Network to pause set up of new sites or studies, other than nationally prioritised COVID-19 studies, led to a rapid and significant reduction in NIHR research activity.

Towards the end of April 2020, there were indications that the pressures on the UK health system were easing in respect of COVID-19 such that any paused and new NIHR research might gradually resume.  Consequently, a group representing NIHR Coordinating Centres initiated the development, involving multiple stakeholders, of a framework for restarting paused NIHR research studies (those either funded or supported by NIHR in healthcare, social care and public health settings) and restarting the NIHR Clinical Research Network support to set up new sites and studies. Implementation of the framework will be through an NIHR Restart Programme. 

The NIHR Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for the NIHR Restart Programme will be Dr William van’t Hoff, CRN Chief Executive Officer.  The SRO leads the planning and coordinated delivery of the Restart Programme through the NIHR Restart Implementation Group, reporting to DHSC.

Scope and Purpose of Group Business

The purpose of the NIHR Restart Advisory Group is to provide advice, support and guidance to the NIHR Restart Programme SRO on all aspects of the NIHR Restart Programme.
Members will be expected to (including, but not limited to):

  • Proactively gather views and intelligence from their sectors on the progress of the Restart Programme
  • Identify and raise specific issues/blockers with the Implementation Group
  • Provide advice on issues as requested by the Implementation Group
  • Provide advice on joint communications
  • Facilitate a collaborative working relationship amongst stakeholders involved in Restart

Group Membership and Frequency Arrangements

The NIHR Restart Advisory Group will have an independent chair/ co-chairs appointed by DHSC.

Group membership will comprise representatives from key stakeholder organisations, patients and the public, Devolved Administrations, and DHSC.

Meetings will be for two hours every two weeks initially, via video-conference at the present time.



Aisling Burnand Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) (Co-Chair)
Sheuli Porkess Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) (Co-Chair)
William van’t Hoff NIHR CRN (NIHR Restart Programme SRO)
Ian Walker Cancer Research UK (CRUK)
Naho Yamazaki Health Research Authority (HRA)
Helen Bodmer Medical Research Council (MRC)
Martin O’Kane Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
Matt Whitty NHS England and NHS Improvement
Maria Palmer NHS R&D Forum
Tina Coldham Patient and Public representative
Ifeanyi (Ify) Sargeant Patient and Public representative
Cheng-Hok Toh Royal College of Physicians
Christiane Abouzeid UK BioIndustry Association (BIA)
Julia Brown UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) Registered Clinical Trials Units (CTUs) Network
Christine McGrath UK Research & Development (UKRD)
David Wynick University Hospital Association (UHA)
Rav Seeruthun Roche UK
Clare Grace Syneos Health ((as ACRO Representative (Association of Clinical Research Organizations))
Maurice O’Kane Director of Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network
Alan McNair Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office
Nicky Williams Health and Care Research, Wales



NameRole / Organisation
Emma Lowe Research Policy Senior Manager – Industry Relations & Growth, SRED, DHSC
John SItzia NIHR CRN Chief Operating Officer
Joanna Knee NIHR CRN Research Delivery Director
Ben Patient Head of Intellectual Property & Commercial & Director of Innovation Programmes & Intellectual Property, NIHR CCF
Stephanie Garfield-Birkbeck Assistant Director, NIHR NETSCC
Peter Thompson Director of Programmes and Impact, NIHR Academy


Project Support and Secretariat

Kaatje Lomme Business Change Manager, NIHR CRN CC
Marietta Müller Study Support Service Facilitator, NIHR CRN CC
Philip MIllne Project Manager, NIHR CRN CC