Which studies are eligible for CRN support?


As the Clinical Research Network is a government funded organisation, all studies in England, must comply with the Department of Health established eligibility criteria for commercial and non-commercial research to qualify for our free support. The other UK nation’s eligibility criteria can be accessed here.

Studies that are eligible for Clinical Research Network support are added to the NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio which captures study activity data to enable accurate feasibility and pro-active study management.

The eligibility assessment for access to Clinical Research Network support on behalf of the Department of Health (in England) is performed by:

  • Our specialty leads for commercial studies via our Industry Application Gateway system
  • Our Clinical Research Network Portfolio team and specialty leads for non-commercial studies

Studies are identified as being either one of the following types:

Automatically eligible studies

Studies which are automatically eligible for consideration for NIHR Clinical Research Network support are those that:

  • Have some of their research funding provided by the NIHR, other areas of central Government and NIHR non-commercial Partners; and
  • Fulfil the Eligibility Criteria definition of a ‘research study’ which is “the attempt to derive generalisable (i.e. of value to others in a similar situation) new knowledge by addressing clearly defined questions with systematic and rigorous methods”.

NIHR non-commercial Partners are organisations that:

  • Award research funds as a result of open competition across England with high quality peer review
  • Fund research that is of clear value to the NHS
  • Take appropriate account of the priorities, needs and realities of the NHS in making decisions about the research that they fund.

Potentially eligible studies

Studies which are potentially eligible for consideration for NIHR Clinical Research Network support are those that are:

  • Commercially funded and commercially sponsored (i.e. commercial contract research)
  • Non-commercial studies
    • Investigator initiated trials (i.e. commercial collaborative research)
    • Funded by overseas Governments
    • Funded by overseas charities

Non-commercial studies

All potentially eligible non-commercial studies are considered for eligibility for Clinical Research Network support via an adoption process. Those that require adoption are either:

  • Initiated by non-commercial investigators (e.g. University or NHS staff) with the majority of the research funding being provided by a commercial organisation (e.g. a pharmaceutical, biotechnology or devices company) specifically to support that study
  • Funded by overseas Governments
  • Funded by overseas charities

These studies must be considered via the non-commercial adoption process to ensure the quality of the studies and their value to the NHS prior to confirmation of eligibility for consideration for NIHR Clinical Research Network support. If eligible, these studies will be given a medium priority (IITs and overseas Governments) or low priority (overseas charities) for Clinical Research Network support.

The non-commercial adoption process involves review by subject specific experts against specific criteria focused on:

  • Clear value to the NHS
  • Ensuring the study takes account of the priorities, needs and realities of the NHS

Commercially funded, commercially sponsored studies

Industry sponsored studies that have been submitted for network feasibility services at www.submitmystudy.nihr.ac.uk and confirmed as both eligible and feasible for inclusion into the NIHR CRN Portfolio as part of this process will be classed as high priority.

Find out more about How we can help the life-sciences industry.

Studies that are not eligible

Studies which are not eligible for consideration for NIHR Clinical Research Network support are those that:

  • Do not meet the relevant commercial or non-commercial eligibility criteria definition of a ‘research study’ which is “the attempt to derive generalisable (i.e. of value to others in a similar situation) new knowledge by addressing clearly defined questions with systematic and rigorous methods”. This excludes: Audits, Needs assessments, Quality improvements, Other local service evaluations & Banking of biological samples or data except where this activity is integral to a self-contained research project designed to test a clear hypothesis
  • Studies which do not have full research funding
  • Studies funded by training awards that are not a recognised part of a research career pathway
  • Studies fully funded and conducted within an NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), NIHR Biomedical Research Unit (BRU), NIHR CLAHRC (Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care), Patient Safety Translation Research Centre (PSTRC) or Experimental Medicine Cancer Centre (ECMC). Please see our frequently asked questions for further information.

How does a non-commercial organisation become an NIHR Partner?

The NIHR non-commercial Partner self-declaration process is initiated either:

The funder will need to complete an NIHR non-commercial Partner Self Declaration Form confirming whether they meet the NIHR non-commercial Partner criteria for each of their funding streams. For more information on how to complete the NIHR non-commercial Partner Self Declaration Form, please see our guidance on using the self-declaration process on the right.

Useful resources:

NIHR Non-commercial Partner list

NIHR Non-commercial Partner Self Declaration Guidance

NIHR non-commercial Partner Self Declaration Form

AcoRD

The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC)

NIHR RDFunding
An online database that advertises thousands of health-related funding opportunities for researchers in the UK.

Help and guidance

  • For commercial studies please contact our industry team on 0113 34 34 555 or email supportmystudy@nihr.ac.uk
  • For non-commercial studies please view our Frequently Asked Questions.

If you can’t find an answer please contact our Portfolio Helpdesk at portfolio.helpdesk@nihr.ac.uk.