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NIHR Restart Implementation 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, and therefore that 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 programme through the NIHR Restart Implementation Group, reporting to DHSC.

A separate Advisory Group representing Devolved Administrations and stakeholders, will provide advice, support and guidance to the SRO on all aspects of the NIHR Restart Programme.

Scope and Purpose

The purpose of this group is to provide oversight and coordination of the implementation of the NIHR Restart Framework and the ongoing restart / start of NIHR research. This will be managed through a Restart Programme comprising key national activities, including:

  1. Monitoring
    • monitor the implementation and progress of NIHR Restart, including CRN portfolio balance
    • monitor the implementation and progress of NIHR Restart, including CRN portfolio balance
    • advice and proposals to DHSC for revision of framework guidance if required, including prioritisation
    • maintain close collaboration with the NIHR Urgent Public Health Research Group
  2. Communications
    • support the NIHR Director of Communications with key external communications
    • coordinate internal NIHR communications
  3. Guidance and direction
    • produce guidance relevant to the programme
    • ‘trouble-shooting’ of issues impeding the progression of the programme
  4. Stakeholders
    • National-level liaison with funders, sponsors, trade associations, NHS R&D, to support and add value to their activities (e.g. working with the Advisory Group)


The NIHR Restart SRO will report to the DHSC SRE Director.

Group Membership and Arrangements

Meetings will be for two hours weekly in the first month (frequency to be confirmed thereafter), via video-conference at the present time.



William van’t Hoff CRN Chief Executive Officer / Restart Programme SRO NIHR CRN (Chair)
Steve Smye CRN Deputy Medical Director NIHR CRN
Joanna Knee CRN Research Delivery Director (Interim) NIHR CRN
James Lyddiard LCRN Chief Operating Officer NIHR CRN
Caroline Wroe LCRN Clinical Director NIHR CRN
Lynn Rochester CRNCC Cluster Lead NIHR CRN
Saul Faust NIHR Clinical Research Facilities Director NIHR CRF (Deputy Chair)
Elaine Hay NIHR Programme Director (Programme Grants for Applied Research) NIHR
Bryan Williams Director | NIHR University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre NIHR BRC
Eileen Kaner Professor of Public Health & Primary Care, NIHR PRU Behavioural Science NIHR ARC
Geraldine Macdonald CRN National Specialty Lead for Social Care NIHR CRN
Steph Garfield - Birkbeck Assistant Director NETSCC
David Baghurst Director of Research Programmes and General Manager NOCRI / CCF
Jeremy Taylor NIHR Director for Public Voice NIHR Centre for Engagement and Dissemination
Stephen Lock CRN Information and Technology Officer (Interim) NIHR CRN
Frances Beves NIHR Director of Communications NIHR Communications
Nick Lemoine CRN Medical Director NIHR CRN



NameRole / Organisation
John Sitzia National Chief Operating Officer, NIHR CRN


Project Support and Secretariat 

Kaatje Lomme Business Change Manager, NIHR CRN CC
Marietta Müller Study Support Service Facilitator, NIHR CRN CC
Phil Millne Project Manager, NIHR CRN CC
Alistair Hay Assistant Project Manager, NIHR CRN CC