The Primary Care Research Network is the doorway for all researchers who require access to patients in primary care. If your study is eligible for Clinical Research Network support, whether you’re working directly with us or with another part of the Network, we'll work together to provide you with the following support:
The information on this page is primarily aimed at non-commercial researchers (that is, those who are based in universities, the NHS or public sector organisations). If you are a researcher working in the commercial life-sciences industry, please go to our Life-sciences Industry web pages.
Our offer to you
First of all we can advise you about your study’s eligibility for Clinical Research Network support and explain exactly what that support includes. We can also provide you with early expert advice and guidance on strategies for recruitment in primary care. This includes using our local knowledge and working with you to look at the feasibility and practicalities of delivering your study and advising on alternatives where necessary.
We can provide our Department of Health-approved resourcing tool to assist you to identify and calculate the NHS Service Support costs that you’ll need to include in your grant application, whether that's for research personnel, or funding for participating sites to cover eligible costs. We increasingly work closely with Department of Health and other funders.
Accessing NHS Service Support
Once we know your study is eligible for Clinical Research Network support we can help arrange access to NHS Service Support resources for you.
Helping you to navigate approval processes
We can sign post you to all the relevant governance processes for your research and help guide you through the steps to obtain NHS permissions. We’ll be on hand to advise and troubleshoot any problems you encounter along the way and we’ll liaise with our Network and NHS R&D colleagues on your behalf to keep things moving and minimise delays.
Getting primary care sites on board
We'll promote your study to all our sites and we’ll use our local primary care intelligence to put you in touch with primary care professionals and practices that are interested in contributing to your research. This includes research-accredited and experienced sites. We can arrange study set-up meetings and help get the practice team up to speed about your research. We’ll also make sure that the right levels of support are in place before your study starts. For more information read our offer of support for primary care practitioners.
Getting everyone else on board
We’ll liaise with other parts of the Clinical Research Network involved in delivering your study and help promote your research to relevant audiences to support engagement, for example, with local pharmacy committees.
We can help to get primary care sites ready to deliver your research by making sure the practice staff are up-to-date with Good Clinical Practice training (GCP) and by working with you to organise study-specific training where necessary.
When it comes to recruitment you’ll benefit from our experience about what works and what doesn’t work. We’ll use our local knowledge and expertise to help you to develop and refine your recruitment strategy and tailor it to specific regions at any point in the study life-cycle.
Coordination and communication
We’ll coordinate the work of our local teams to deliver your research and continue to liaise with Trusts and, primary care sites, as required, for the duration of your study to keep everyone informed.
Performance monitoring and trouble-shooting
We’ll monitor the performance of your study to help you achieve recruitment to time and target at national and local levels. If your study runs into problems we’ll help you to trouble-shoot the issues, come up with solutions, overcome barriers and un-block the blocks.
Direct support to practices
Primary care sites will receive a range of support from us to get them up and running and keep them on track to meet their research goals. This can include helping them to identify patients, run database searches, answering questions and queries and we can even provide hands-on research support if necessary. Read our offer of support for primary care practitioners for more details.
Hear how we're doing from those we've already supported on our case studies page.
View a map showing primary care sites we are already working with.
View a map showing patient recruitment.
What do we get in return?
In return for our support, study teams are required to upload study recruitment information directly to the NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio Database on a monthly basis. Our staff are available to support this process. The research activity data is used to help us actively manage current studies, gauge the feasibility of future studies and it also underpins our performance management processes. But most importantly, activity data is used to inform the allocation of NHS infrastructure for research (including NHS Service Support Costs) in England and so is key to ensuring that research resources follow the research.
We also ask you to credit us in your research publications and presentations for the support we've provided.
Further details, including information on how to submit recruitment data is available on the Portfolio pages of the Clinical Research Network website. You’ll also find a full overview of all the support available from the Network as a whole.