UK’s NIHR Clinical Research Network Most Recent Performance Report: Patient Recruitment, Site Activation Times, and More

Jul 20, 2019 | Clinical Research Network, CRN, National Institute for Health Research, NIHR

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The National Institute for Health Research is the nation’s largest funder of health and clinical research. Established in 2006 under the government’s health research strategy, Best Research for Best Health. They are primarily funded by the Department of Health and Social care, but also receive UK aid funding to support research for people in low-and middle-income countries. Working in partnership with the NHS, universities, local government, other research funders, patients and the public, we deliver and enable world-class research that transforms people’s lives, promotes economic grown and advance science.

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Mission

The NIHR seeks to support clinical research to be current and relevant—supporting research sponsors and investigators to complete their study within an acceptable timescale. The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) aims to support research by:

  • Introducing effective systems to reduce the length of time it takes for a study to be set up and start
  • Putting a broad-based infrastructure in place, so that researchers have access to the facilities and research support personnel they need to carry out the study activities
  • Being able to direct researchers towards local patient populations and research capacity, so that participants targets can be achieved.
  • Being able to direct researchers towards local patient populations and research capacity, so that participant targets can be achieved.

The NIHR CRN measures its effective from key high level, critical objectives. These incredibly important objectives include elements such as increasing the proportion of CRN Portfolio studies that deliver in line with the study’s planned delivery time and participant recruitment targets; increase the total number of research participants, reduce study start-up cycle times, etc.

NIHR CRN’s Research Performance Reports Q3 2018/19

This performance report was recently published. Review the link to learn more about performance. Also a few highlights below:

More Patients Participate in Clinical Trials in the UK

NIHR CRN summarized their performance against high-level objectives (HLO). For example, they sought to include 650,000 research subjects in clinical trials equaling a target of 162,500. Actually, 193,305 participants entered studies meaning they exceed their goals by 19%.

Increase the Proportion of Studies in the NIHR CRN Portfolio delivering to Recruitment Target & Time

With this high-level objective, the NIHR CRN seeks to improve the proportion of commercial contract studies achieving or surpassing their recruitment targets during their planned recruitment period, at confirmed Network Sites. For this last reporting quarter, the proportion of commercial contract studies achieving recruitment both in terms of performance against 2017/18 Q3 (+4%) and performance against Q2 2018/19 (+15%). Improving delivery to recruitment time and target continues to be a priority for the NIHR CRN, with Q3 2018/19 year-to-date performance at 71% against the 80% annual target.

Increase Number of Commercial Contract Studies Delivered through the NIHR CRN

178 new commercial contract studies were added to the NIHR CRN Portfolio in the latest quarter. This exceeds the quarterly target of 175 with the NIHR CRN on tract for its annual target of 700 new commercial contract studies entering the NIHR CRN Portfolio.

Reduce Set-Up Times for Eligible Studies in the NHS

Here the NIHR CRN seeks to improve set up times for eligible studies achieving NHS set up at all sites within 40 calendar days (from site section to site confirmed). 69% of eligible studies achieved NHS set up at all sites within 40 calendar days in Q3 2018/19, with a median set-up time of 27 days (an improvement of 1 day from Q3 2017/18).

TrialSite News provides a link to the performance report for the reader’s review should they be interested.

NIHR: An Important Resource

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) is the largest national clinical research funder in Europe—with a budget of over $1.3 billion back in 2015-16. The prominent think tank the RAND Corporation found that the NIHR had “transformed Research & Development for the NHS and the people it serves“. 


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