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A team effort - performance figures for the Clinical Research Network

732,176 participants took part in clinical research across England. This is equivalent of 2,005 per day!

Published: 01 July 2020

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN), supports the delivery of an extensive portfolio of high-quality health and social care research across England and achieved a number of key performance milestones in 2019/2020:

A total of 732,176 participants took part in studies supported by the Network, the largest portion of participants in NIHR research. This takes the Network total for the last five years to 3,599,944 participants. Patients from 100% of NHS trusts across England took part in NIHR CRN supported research this year demonstrating the opportunities for people to participate, wherever they live and work.

NIHR CRN aims to help studies start as quickly as possible and to ensure that across the country sufficient numbers of patients can be recruited to enable the study to answer the research question. In 2019/20, with NIHR CRN support, 87% of non-commercial studies both recruited the required number of participants and did so within the project time - the best results to date.

The number of studies being supported by the NIHR CRN remained high in 2019/20.  2,103 new studies were accepted onto the NIHR CRN portfolio - taking the total number of studies receiving support to 6,052 - the second-highest on record.

Commercial research

In 2019/20, 1,580 commercial studies (studies that are sponsored by the life sciences industry) were supported by the NIHR CRN - the highest number on record. This has been achieved despite the changing research landscape and uncertainties as a result of the UK’s exit from the European Union. The Network recruited 28,832 participants into 1,166 of these studies. With CRN support, 70% of commercial studies recruited participants to time and target in 2019/20.


There has been very high recruitment into studies in primary care, with 151,868 participants taking part and an emphasis on public health studies - with 114,139 participants recruited.

Chief Executive Officer of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, Dr William van’t Hoff said: “I am delighted to see strong results of research delivery, reflecting the tremendous amount of work from many different staff based throughout our entire regional networks and in all healthcare settings. The NIHR CRN is truly showing its reach and opportunity to help researchers and patients across the whole country.” 

Read more about the work of the Clinical Research Network and the Specialties. 

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