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Clinical Research Network

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supports patients, the public and health and care organisations across England to participate in high-quality research, thereby advancing knowledge and improving care. The CRN is comprised of 15 Local Clinical Research Networks and 30 Specialties who coordinate and support the delivery of high-quality research both by geography and therapy area. National leadership and coordination is provided through the CRN Coordinating Centre.

The CRN enables high-quality health and care research in England by meeting the costs of additional staff, facilities, equipment and support services so that research is not subsidised with funding that has been provided for health and care treatments and service. The CRN also provides a vast range of national and local resources and activities designed to support health and care organisations, staff, patients and service users to be research active. These include specialist training, information systems to manage and report research, patient and public involvement opportunities and engagement initiatives, and communications expertise.

Delivering studies ‘to plan’ - meaning within the planned timescale and with the right number of participants to make the results meaningful - is of critical importance, which is why the CRN provides the Study Support Service. This helps researchers and the life sciences industry plan, set up and deliver high-quality research in both the NHS and across the wider health and social care environment in England. We provide this service for all studies eligible for our support, regardless of location, study type, study size, therapy or research area. Whether your study is medical, diagnostic, pharmaceutical, bio-tech or is looking at healthy populations or people with social care needs, we can help.

The NIHR CRN helped 1,289,937 participants take part in over 4,600 portfolio studies in England in 2021/22.

Find out more about our performance and key statistics relating to our activity.

Local Clinical Research Networks

The NIHR Clinical Research Network is made up of 15 Local Clinical Research Networks across England. These local Networks coordinate and support the delivery of high quality research taking place in the NHS and across the wider health and social care environment.

The local Networks help to increase the opportunities for participants to take part in clinical research, ensure that studies are carried out efficiently, and support the Government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences by improving the environment for commercial contract clinical research. The Clinical Research Network receives funding from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) which it uses to allocate funding to the local Networks.



Find your local Clinical Research Network:

  1. North East and North Cumbria

  2. North West Coast

  3. Yorkshire and Humber

  4. Greater Manchester

  5. East Midlands

  6. West Midlands

  7. West of England

  8. Thames Valley and South Midlands

  9. East of England

  10. Kent, Surrey and Sussex

  11. Wessex

  12. South West Peninsula

  13. North Thames

  14. South London

  15. North West London

New configuration for the NIHR Research Delivery Network confirmed

From 2024, the NIHR Clinical Research Network will become the NIHR Research Delivery Network. The 15 current Local Clinical Research Networks (LCRNs) will be realigned to map onto the NHS England regions. Coverage of the whole of England will be delivered through 12 NIHR Regional Research Delivery Networks (RRDN). This is the first component of the arrangements for the new NIHR Regional Research Delivery Networks (RRDNs) confirmed by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The boundaries will be coterminous with NHS England Regional Office boundaries and those of the Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) operating within the regions, and also with most local authority boundaries. This will provide even more focus on regional collaboration, influence and development with the local NHS and care system, to meet the needs of people within a region, while facilitating joint working with the NHS and ICSs.

The selection process for organisations who will host the regional networks, after the current contracts expire in March 2024, will commence in October 2022. Further details will follow in the coming weeks. The process will be run by the NIHR Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre (CRNCC), on behalf of DHSC.

Research Specialty Areas

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) provides researchers with the practical support they need to make clinical studies happen in both the NHS and the wider health and social care environment.

The CRN supports research being delivered through 30 specialty therapy areas. These provide a network of research expertise and clinical leadership to deliver research studies on the NIHR Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) Portfolio of studies. Each specialty is made up of expert clinical leaders and practitioners who work at both national and local levels to ensure that studies are delivered successfully and to promote awareness of research opportunities for participants to take part in. The specialty groups also support the dialogue between the life sciences industry and charities to ensure the pipeline of research studies and to facilitate the involvement of participants to make research more effective.

The Specialties are managed by six cluster offices, which are run by the Heads of Clusters:

Jacqueline Mathews, Cluster A

Cardiovascular Disease

Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders
Renal Disorders

Respiratory Disorders

Cluster B

Cluster A and B offices have been amalgamated within Imperial College London from 1 April 2022, capitalising on the working relationship that already exists between the two teams. The combined Cluster will be known as Cluster A. As a result of this the Cluster B Specialties have been allocated to new Cluster offices from 1 April 2022.

Julie Solomon, Cluster C

Anaesthesia, Perioperative Medicine and Pain Management
Critical Care
Trauma and Emergency Care

Health Services Research
Mental Health
Primary Care
Public Health
Social Care

Vanessa Poustie, Cluster D


Musculoskeletal Disorders
Reproductive Health and Childbirth​​​​​​​

Dr Gary Nestor, Cluster E

Ear, Nose and Throat

Dementias and Neurodegeneration
Neurological Disorders

Clare Shaw, Cluster F

Oral and Dental Health