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NIHR Systematic Reviews Programme

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It is widely accepted that the findings of individual research studies are rarely sufficient to justify new treatments. Systematic reviews identify, evaluate, combine and summarise the findings of all relevant individual studies and, when carried out well, provide decision makers with the best possible information about the effects of tests, treatments and other interventions used in health and social care. NETSCC provides strategic oversight and manages the contracts for the Systematic Reviews Programme on behalf of the NIHR.

Read the NIHR leaflet about Systematic Reviews
View Professor Sally C. Davies's video about NIHR Systematic Reviews

We also have the following literature available to download:

Cochrane Collaboration

UK Cochrane Centre

The UK Cochrane Centre (UKCC) provides training and support to Cochrane entities and contributors to the Cochrane Collaboration in the UK, Ireland and internationally. 2012 marks the beginning of a new phase in the Centre’s development. Two new work streams will focus on “Learning & Development” and “Engagement” with a research programme supporting these activities. Learning and development opportunities will be provided for a broad range of key NHS stakeholders including patients and the public, healthcare workers, policy makers and commissioners, these activities forming one important part of the engagement strategy. The UKCC is a key link between the Collaboration, Cochrane reviews, and the National Health Service, and promotes evidence-based decision-making and systematic reviews in general and Cochrane reviews in particular.

The Cochrane Collaboration is the world’s largest organisation dedicated to producing and maintaining systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare interventions. Worldwide, more than 20,000 people are involved in 53 Cochrane Review Groups in over 100 countries. Cochrane reviews are regularly updated and are valuable sources of information for those receiving care, as well as for decision-makers and researchers. There are now around 4,000 full Cochrane reviews available in The Cochrane Library, covering tens of thousands of research studies, millions of patients and billions of pounds of investment.

For more information, please visit:

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Cochrane Review Groups

The NIHR funds the infrastructure costs for the 22 NIHR-funded Cochrane Review Groups. These NIHR Cochrane Review Groups, all based in academic or health institutions in the UK, cover a wide range of areas of healthcare including dementia, depression, heart disease, oral health, palliative care, pregnancy and childbirth and schizophrenia. NETSCC manages the contracts of these groups on behalf of the NIHR.

For details of each Cochrane Review Group, please visit:

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Centre for Reviews and Dissemination

The Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD), a department of the University of York, is a centre of excellence in health research synthesis and a national resource for those who need to know about systematic reviews.

CRD undertakes systematic reviews across a broad range of topic areas for national and international funders and policy customers, carries out methods research and produces internationally accepted guidance for undertaking systematic reviews.

The Centre produces the internationally renowned DARE, HTA and NHS EED databases. DARE and NHS EED provide access to thousands of critical summaries of quality assessed systematic reviews and economic evaluations, primarily for use by NHS decision makers. The HTA database provides access to details of all completed and on-going health technology assessments being undertaken across the world. CRD also produces PROSPERO, the first open access international database of prospectively registered systematic reviews in health and social care.

For more information, please visit:

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Diagnostic Test Evaluation Support Unit

Funding from the NIHR has facilitated the establishment of the Diagnostic Test Evaluation Support Unit led by Professor Jon Deeks at the University of Birmingham. The activities have two main strands, (a) supporting UK based review groups in The Cochrane Collaboration in the implementation of Cochrane Systematic Reviews of Diagnostic Test Accuracy, (b) supporting the NIHR HTA Programme in the commissioning of studies evaluating diagnostic test accuracy.

For more information, please visit:

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Improved Monitoring in Long Term Disease Programme

The overall aim of this research programme is to improve understanding, methods, evidence-base and practice of clinical monitoring within the NHS. The short term aims include documenting and understanding the current practice gaps and variations. Based on important gaps identified, the project will develop and pilot new tools for monitoring. The medium term aims are to establish a UK-wide monitoring research network that will undertake both methodological and disease specific work. The long term aim is to make available, for each chronic disease, clearly identified current “best practice” monitoring processes and tools, and to ensure that there is active ongoing research in improving and implementing these across the NHS.

For more information, please visit:

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Health Technology Assessment Reviews

Health Technology Assessment Reviews (TARs) provide a reliable and rigorous evidence assessment of the benefits, harms and costs of particular healthcare treatments and tests for those who plan, provide or receive care in the NHS.

TAR reports are commissioned to meet the urgent needs of national NHS decision-making bodies and policy customers. TARs are most commonly produced to inform NICE Appraisal Committee guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments and procedures within the NHS in England and Wales.

Each TAR is tailored to meet the individual policy customer’s needs in terms of independent evidence review, individual patient meta-data analysis, cost-effectiveness and economic modelling.

For more information, please visit:

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The NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC), based at the University of Southampton, manages evaluation research programmes and activities for the NIHR.


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