The Department of Health has announced that the University of Leeds will be at the heart of a new consortium to help improve the Clinical Research Network.
The Clinical Research Network is part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), providing researchers with access to the NHS services and additional support they need to make clinical studies happen in the NHS. Its aim is to support more research across England and enable more patients to participate in well-designed research.
The new consortium, announced on Tuesday 23 December 2014, also involves Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and will provide a single Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre (CRNCC), responsible for delivering the NIHR Clinical Research Network and its extensive portfolio of clinical trials.
Running for the next five years, from April 2015 to March 2020, this new consortium streamlines the previous arrangement based on nine separate centres, creating a simpler, more effective and wholly integrated research delivery model.
Professor Paul Stewart, Dean of Medicine at the University of Leeds, said: “This is a unique CRNCC Alliance, which will take the already outstanding performance of the NIHR Clinical Research Network to the next level of efficiency and impact by creating a much more integrated and effective model.
“Most importantly it will further engage patients and NHS Trusts in clinical trials that we know delivers improved patient care quality and outcomes, contributes to evidence-based clinical practice and also generates economic growth. This new NIHR CRNCC will help make the NHS in England the “go-to” place to conduct clinical research, with a research infrastructure that will be a benchmark of excellence for the international life sciences research community.
‘Being appointed for the next five years to provide the NIHR CRNCC is affirmation of the excellent work the existing team has delivered so far. It is also confirmation of the Department of Health’s confidence that, the University of Leeds, in collaboration with Guy’s and St Thomas’ and PA Consulting, will continue to improve the service we offer to the life sciences industry, the charitable sector, patients and the public.
“Alongside our partners, and with the strategic insight of our Vice Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands, who was previously Chief Executive of the NHS, we are exceptionally well placed to provide an even better CRNCC.”
Between them, the University of Leeds and Guy’s and St Thomas’ have an international reputation for clinical research, high quality clinical care, teaching and leadership in the NHS and patient engagement. Together, they will ensure the priorities of the NHS-NIHR research agenda are met and that clinical research delivery is fully embedded within the NHS.
This newly appointed consortium will work with a broader ‘CRNCC Alliance’ of partner organisations that bring together the consolidated experience of four additional research-led universities (University of Liverpool, Imperial College London, King’s College London and Newcastle University) that will provide national academic and clinical leadership. They all have longstanding commitment to, and experience of, leadership in the NIHR Clinical Research Network.
Completing the CRNCC Alliance is PA Consulting, a commercial organisation with an international reputation and footprint that delivers excellence in innovation for health and life sciences. PA Consulting brings comprehensive experience and expertise in the delivery of digital and cloud-based solutions for modern healthcare research.
Sir Ron Kerr, Chief Executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘We are delighted that our consortium bid with the University of Leeds has been successful and that we will be working with colleagues in Leeds, other partners in our successful bid and staff in the Clinical Research Network to further strengthen research activities across the NHS.
The NHS, with the NIHR infrastructure, is uniquely placed to drive health research and improve clinical outcomes through access to large numbers of patients, diverse populations and committed clinical and academic staff. At Guy’s and St Thomas’ we are looking forward to this new opportunity to support the Clinical Research Network, to further strengthen patient engagement and business development, and ultimately to deliver better care and economic benefits through enhanced commercial and non-commercial research activity.’
This new model for the NIHR CRNCC completes the second and final stage of a major restructure of the Clinical Research Network. Phase one, last year, saw the CRN streamline over 100 Local Clinical Research Networks to just 15. Currently it has nine coordinating centres jointly managing the 15 networks. Once the transition to the new contract has been completed, the networks will be managed by just one integrated coordinating centre in a more practical and efficient model which will help it to achieve its ambitious goals.