Health research

New network to support health research and link NHS with industry from 2024

A new network of leaders is set to support healthcare research across England in 2024, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced.

The Research Delivery Network (RDN), led by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), will ensure as many patients can benefit from innovative studies as possible, along with an aim to secure the UK’s position as the best place for commercial trials globally.

Earmarking the O’Shaughnessy review in particular, the new network will foster a “seamless connection” between the NHS and the private sector, according to the NIHR.

The NIHR RDN’s coordinating centre will be supplied by the University of Leeds in a contract running until the end of March 2029. A dozen regional RDNs will be hosted by NHS organisations across the country, with contracts beginning 1 October 2024.

Operating as a single entity, the various sites will harness its joint leadership to balance local circumstance with national strategy.

Ultimately, the NIHR RDN will have staff in all health and care settings and build on the success of the clinical research network.

                                                                        Video credit: Canva

The regional RDNs include:

  • North East and Yorkshire
    • North East and North Cumbria – hosted by The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
    • Yorkshire and Humber – hosted by The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • North West
    • North West – hosted by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
  • Midlands
    • East Midlands – hosted by University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
    • West Midlands – hosted by The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust
  • East of England
    • East of England – hosted by Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • London
    • North London – hosted by Barts Health NHS Trust
    • South London – hosted by Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
  • South East
    • South Central – hosted by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
    • South East – hosted by Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust
  • South West
    • South West Central – hosted by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust
    • South West Peninsula – hosted by Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

The NIHR’s chief executive, Professor Lucy Chappell, said: “The new NIHR RDN is designed to provide an enhanced, consistent service for all those involved in research delivery.

“It includes part of a system wide drive to increase commercial clinical trials, ensuring we work more effectively than ever with the life sciences industry to deliver the best, most cutting-edge health and care research for the British public, alongside research funded by the government and charities.”

Prof Chappell, who is also the chief scientific adviser to the DHSC, continued: “Access to research opportunities in under-served regions is crucial and the new NIHR RDN will be pivotal in supporting new treatment and models of care to communities with major health and care needs.

“It will build capacity to extend research delivery in primary, community and social care settings to make it easier for patients to get access to cutting-edge treatment, through research.”

Hero image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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