Leicester hosts hub to help design and deliver tomorrow’s most important health and care research

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has chosen a partnership led by University of Leicester to host one of eight hubs that will deliver the new NIHR Research Support Service.

The University and its collaborating clinical trials units and research groups have been awarded £8.5 million over five years to work with researchers to design and deliver important health and social care research.

The scheme replaces the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) and NIHR Clinical Trial Units (CTU) Support Funding, which both end on 30 September 2023.

The NIHR Research Support Service (RSS) will provide researchers, especially those applying for and in receipt of NIHR funding, with free access to support, advice and expertise. It will help them develop and deliver clinical and applied health and care research.

The service has been established following an open and competitive process assessed by research experts and public contributors.

The NIHR RSS will operate nationally and will allow researchers to access the most appropriate support independent of their location. It will provide seamless support for all researchers in England working across the remit of the NIHR, from pre-application through to post-application phases. It will connect with the NIHR Clinical Research Network to support the development of studies designed to ensure they are optimised for delivery at study sites.

Research Support Service Hub Director, Martin Williams, said: “We are delighted that the National Institute for Health and Care Research has recognised the strength and quality of our partnership. This prestigious award demonstrates the high reputation of the staff and leadership teams of our member groups and institutions. We look forward to working with research teams across the country to deliver truly innovative research that will make a positive difference to people’s health and care.”

The service will be delivered collaboratively through eight hubs, which will individually bring together a variety of partners. Three hubs will provide specialist support in Public Health or Social Care. This will ensure that all parts of the research ecosystem are consistently well-served.

Each hub will be able to respond or direct researchers to the most appropriate methodological expertise within the NIHR RSS that supports their study requirements. This will include:

  • advice and assistance with study development, design and delivery
  • advice on patient and public involvement
  • approaches to addressing research inclusion
  • signposting to other support available from the NIHR

The new service will begin on 1 October 2023. Further information about the NIHR Research Support Service can be found here.