NIHR Clinical Research Network Collaborative Framework

Creating a pan-Northern collaborative network in clinical research


The National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) is the research delivery arm of the NHS and its vision is to make “clinical research an integral part of healthcare for all”.

NIHR CRNs in the North of England provide the infrastructure that allows high-quality clinical research to take place in the NHS. CRNs assist researchers set up clinical studies quickly and effectively and deliver to time and on target, supporting the life-sciences industry to deliver their research programmes, providing health professionals with research training; and working with patients to make sure their needs are at the centre of research.

NHSA Support

In 2016 the NHSA worked with the four Northern CRNs (Greater Manchester CRN, North West Coast CRN, Yorkshire and Humber CRN and North East CRN); acting as a broker to develop new ways of working that would help secure more commercially sponsored and funded studies in the North of England.  It was agreed a Network Collaborative Framework should be drawn up by the four CRNs that could be shared with partners to secure agreement and buy-in. This would establish a framework for increasing the number of commercial trials with research sites in the North. This agreement has now been signed by all CRNs and the NHSA.


The signing of the Framework Agreement has demonstrated a genuine desire to increase collaborative working within commercially funded clinical trials across the North.  To date in particular, the gastroenterology speciality has undertaken cross-CRN workshops to share experiences and best practice with a view to opening a trial with a single point of contact across the North.  This could result in making the North’s offer of supporting clinical trials an exciting and novel opportunity for industry.

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