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Professor Chappell will lead the NIHR as part of her wider role as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care. She takes over leadership of the NIHR from Professor Chris Whitty and will report to him in his capacity as Chief Medical Officer for England. Read more

Research for Social Care – Mental health call opens

The NIHR Research for Social Care (RfSC) call, which opened on 21st July 2021, invites proposals for research to address important social care questions around mental health in Northern England. The call closes on 19th October 2021.

New NIHR publication – Best Research for Best Health: The Next Chapter

It has been 15 years since Best Research for Best Health was published, the document that underpinned the creation of NIHR. NIHR have now published Best Research for Best Health: The Next Chapter. This sets out NIHR’s operational priorities now and into the future. It re-affirms NIHR’s core workstreams and details its areas of strategic focus – areas where NIHR will need to work with urgency and in fundamentally different ways if we are to deliver transformative

NIHR plays key role in ambitious cross-sector plan for the future of clinical research delivery in the UK

Following publication of the ‘Saving and improving lives: the future of UK clinical research delivery’ vision in March, the UK government and devolved administrations have set out the first phase of activity. The NIHR has a key role to play in delivering this plan, working with the devolved administrations, the NHS, regulators, medical research charities and
the life sciences industry.

“How public involvement stopped me in my tracks”: Dr Grace Lewis on the importance of listening and learning when designing research

In a new blog post, Dr Grace Lewis writes about a discussion with members of the Elders Council of Newcastle that led her to re-think and re-design her research project completely. Having planned to explore “better conversations” with and about people living with frailty in acute healthcare settings, Dr Lewis shares how public involvement challenged her thinking—and how, rather than being disheartened, she listened to feedback from members of the Elders Council, and designed a project which is “completely different and hugely improved, for their input”. Click here to read the full blog post.

International Clinical Trials Day

Celebrated on 20th May, International Clinical Trials Day (ICTD) marks the anniversary of the first clinical trial, conducted by James Lind in 1747, into the causes of scurvy on board the HMS Salisbury. ICTD provides an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts and achievements of all those involved in clinical research, and to raise awareness of its importance. To help us commemorate ICTD 2021, Rosemary Nicholls, a public contributor working with the Research Design Service North East and North Cumbria, has shared her experience of supporting researchers who are planning clinical trials. Click here to read Rosemary’s post.

NIHR’s response to COVID-19

The NIHR is playing a critical role in the fight against COVID-19. We are funding, enabling and delivering ground-breaking research that is helping to save lives in the UK and around the world. Our research is informing government policy, and providing NHS doctors and nurses with the tools they need to prevent and treat COVID-19.  By being embedded in the NHS, we are able to be respond quickly and prioritise research based on science, relevance and feasibility; research studies that we identify as urgent public health studies. Now that vaccines are in widespread use, our attention is increasing is on the long-term consequences of COVID-19.

NIHR publishes latest annual report

The report celebrates how NIHR funding and support continues to have a lasting impact on our health and social care system. It details our world-class and ground-breaking research that is delivered by the talents and expertise within NIHR and the collaborations and partnerships we have forged. In addition to showcasing the breadth of areas NIHR provides funding and support, over 100 of our major research achievements are featured in the report, organised under the NIHR’s six core workstreams. The report also gives an insight into the shifting focus to COVID-19 research as we came to the end of 2019/20.

“Dipping our feet into research”: Find out more about the experiences of the Discovery Group as they analysed media coverage of Covid-19

The Discovery Group was a service-user led research project, which explored media coverage of Covid-19 in different countries. Service users and staff at the Forensic Service, Roseberry Park Hospital (Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust) decided to “dip their feet into research” as a way to stay motivated and engaged, despite the difficult loss of freedom that came with lockdown restrictions in spring 2020. Service users reported that leading their own research helped to occupy their time, and many would be keen to design and deliver research again in future.  You can read their full report here:

Celebrating Language Diversity in the North East & North Cumbria

People across the North East and North Cumbria speak many languages from all over the world and, of course, lots of local dialects. It’s important that everybody’s voice is heard in health and social care research, so that we can all live healthier, better lives for longer. To celebrate UNESCO International Mother Language Day (21st February), NIHR’s Research Design Service NENC and Clinical Research Network NENC want to explore our region’s language diversity. Click here to join in by adding your languages and dialects to the virtual map. All you need to do is click the pink “+” button to add a post, and type in your location (your city/town/village – no need to add your exact address). Once you select your location, your new post will pop up. Type in the names of any languages or dialects that you speak. Add as many as you like, including any languages you speak at home or with your family, or any languages you’re learning, even if you only know a little. Feel free to add more text to tell us a bit about yourself or your language skills. Click off the post anywhere onto the map behind it (or on a mobile device tap ‘save’), and your post will be saved for everyone to see.

If you would like to get involved and have your say on health and social care research, then we would love to hear from you. Email and to say “hello”, “bonjour” or “السلام عليكم”, and find out how you can use your voice to help change lives across our region.

NIHR Standard Application Form guidance changes

Please note changes to the NIHR Standard Application Form guidance.  A new resource has been made available via a link from the Guidance for applicants on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for study participants, The INCLUDE Ethnicity Framework. This aims to help trial teams think carefully about which ethnic groups should be included in their trial for its results to be widely applicable, and what challenges there may be to making this possible. INCLUDE is an NIHR initiative, funded by the CRN.

Current Stage 1 and stage 2 EDI guidance section / wording 1 and stage 2 EDI guidance section / wording 

Guidance for applicants on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for study participants

Every person eligible to take part in research should be offered the same opportunity of taking part in that research regardless of: Geographical location; Age; Disability; Gender reassignment; Marriage and civil partnership; Pregnancy and maternity; Ethnicity Religion or belief; Sex; Sexual orientation; Socioeconomic status and Access to health or social care.  Useful links to the toolkit for increasing participation of BAME groups in health and care research and the INCLUDE Ethnicity Framework, which aims to improve trial delivery for under-served groups.  All NIHR applications are expected to include information about how this data will be collected. Applicants should demonstrate how these factors have been considered and addressed in their proposal, including steps taken to ensure the research sample is representative of the population the study is targeted at.  Applicants need to explain who they are planning to recruit to ensure inclusivity of study participants and justify and explain any exclusions, for example by completing an Equality Impact Assessment. Additionally, applicants should demonstrate that all potential recruiting locations have been considered and the research is deliverable to those areas.

Helpful links: and

RDS Blogs: From the RDS desk

Each month, the Research Design Service, brings you handy tips, insights and experiences of the funding application process. The blogs touch on various themes in the design process and highlight what you need to know before you make a research application.

This month’s blog, Navigating the Innovation Pathway, provides tips on putting together an i4i application.

Check out the previous blogs below:

August 2021: Raising the Public Involvement Standards in the RDS: A Tale of One RDS Hub

July 2021: What are funding committees looking for?

June 2021: Reflections on a co-production podcast series

May 2021: Platform trials: full steam ahead?

April 2021: Getting Knowledge Mobilisation Embedded in Research