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International Clinical Trials Day: NIHR support in Clinical Trials


International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world on or near 20 May each year, to commemorate the anniversary of the very first clinical trial by James Lind. As the main public funder of trials in the UK, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is undertaking a range of activities to support its trials portfolio and the researchers, clinicians and patients involved.

Clinical trials are a vital element of the work supported and funded by the NIHR. Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser, Department of Health said: “Clinical trials are essential for testing treatments and ensuring we have the best possible evidence so that NHS patients receive high quality care. Expanding clinical trials is core to our vision of the integral role to be played by medical research in the cost-effective delivery of health services in the country.”

The NIHR funds a wide range of initiatives as part of a developing area of the NIHR Trials Overview activities which include:


NIHR Randomised Trials Methods
Recognising the importance of sharing and communicating up-to-date information about the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of trials, the NIHR has developed its Randomised Trials Methods resource. This signposts researchers to information and resources on good practice in randomised trial design and conduct, key research publications and examples of innovative trial designs or methodologies.


Clinical Trials Toolkit
The Clinical Trials Toolkit is an innovative website designed to help navigate through the complex landscape of setting up and managing clinical trials, in line with regulatory requirements. Anyone designing, undertaking or managing clinical trials is encouraged to consult the Clinical Trials Toolkit. Although primarily aimed at those involved in publicly funded Clinical Trials of Investigational Medicinal Products (CTIMPs), much of the advice is relevant to the wider clinical trials and research environment. 


NIHR Trial Managers' Network
The NIHR Trials Managers’ Network (TMN) is a hub of over 300 trial managers working towards the successful delivery of NIHR portfolio studies. The TMN is run by trial managers for trial managers and has been primarily developed to facilitate the sharing of expertise and knowledge in order to implement best practice in the management of clinical trials.


NIHR Clinical Trials Unit Support Funding
The NIHR recognises the important and crucial role played by Clinical Trials Units (CTUs) in helping to deliver quality research projects.  NIHR Clinical Trials Unit Support Funding was introduced to strengthen capacity in funded units for designing and conducting clinical trials and other evaluation studies. Funding offers additional stability and flexibility, and gives units increased capacity to support projects and applications to NIHR research programmes.

The NIHR Trials Overview portfolio is an evolving area of work and more information on the above activities can found at www.netscc.ac.uk/nihr_trials_overview/

Also in support of International Clinical Trials Day, the NIHR has launched it’s ‘OK to ask’ campaign - a patient empowerment campaign to encourage patients to initiate a conversation about taking part in clinical research. Whilst the main part of the campaign is patient-focused, the NIHR is calling upon individual researchers and research groups to show that they back the drive to empower patients in clinical research. For more information on how to show your support please visit: www.crncc.nihr.ac.uk/oktoask

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The NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme is managed by the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC). NETSCC is part of the University of Southampton funded by the NIHR, with specific contributions from the CSO in Scotland and NISCHR in Wales and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.

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