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April 2022 Newsletter

Date: 1 May 2022

Welcome to the Forum April 2022 Newsletter

We hope everyone has had a good break over the recent Bank Holiday and have taken the advantage of getting outside into the fresh air as the weather has turned almost summer like.

The R&D Forum is very supportive of the change in name of NIHR to National Institute of Health and Care Research (read more below) Over the recent years the Forum has evolved with the changing landscape of research, as more research is now in out of hospital care settings – in primary care, social care, public health, hospices etc.  We have a number of working groups that support the wider objectives of NIHR to develop and deliver in Care settings. This includes the primary care and the newly formed out of hospitals setting group, which again you can read more about below in the newsletter.

It is great to see research going from strength to strength and for us all in R&D Forum to be influencing and reflecting this for all our community.

Portfolio Reset

You will all be aware the DHSC, together with a wide range of stakeholders, is currently working on resetting the Portfolio with a view to making it more manageable in a post-Covid NHS. It important to realise that there is no intention of closing down studies that remain viable. Indeed, the aim is to be clear about studies that are either not feasible because of service changes or other issues as a result of Covid or those that, with hindsight, are very unlikely to reach completion. This will release capacity in the system for newer studies that may be designed for post-covid care pathways and therefore more feasible.

NIHR are currently conducting a data validation exercise so that Sponsors can be informed of studies that appear to be significantly struggling to recruit. Sponsors are being asked to, in conjunction with funders, review those studies to determine whether they should close. It is for sponsors to make this decision and we would ask that sites do not pre-empt this process and close studies at individual sites. This could result in studies that are viable UK- wide becoming unviable if a number of sites withdraw. Sites should discuss any site-specific issues with sponsors as they would normally.

The people working on this are aware of potential unintended consequences of this (including, but not limited to, the position of post-graduate researchers where their study closes early, continuing treatment for patients, capturing valuable data from studies despite early closure) and are working on mitigations. Please let us know if issues arise that you want escalated to the Oversight Group, on which the Forum is represented

As always any thoughts or ideas of what we can do more of or differently, ideas most welcome and feel free to contact us at

Best Regards, 
Shona Haining 
Director, NHS R&D Forum


Monthly Forum Working Group Update

For those that don’t know me – I am Clare Symms, Head of Research Management, Finance and PPI at NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG (soon to be NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB), and I chair the NHS R&D Forum Primary Care and Commissioning Working Group.  I am lucky to chair a very active and knowledgeable group made up of a wide range of individuals who support research in Primary Care settings and within commissioning organisations, together with our key stakeholders, including the Health Research Authority (HRA), NHS England and Improvement and the CRN Co-ordinating Centre (CRN CC).  Members have varied roles and sit in a variety of organisations including CCGs, Trusts, CSUs (commissioning support units), academic units and CRNs.

The aim of the group is to provide support, share best practice and solutions, and to work with key stakeholders to influence the development of key policies and guidance and champion research in Primary Care and within commissioning organisations and we currently meet virtually every 2 months.

Our current priorities are:

  • The transition to Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) and discharge of statutory duties with respect to research.  We are keen to hear from individuals about models they are developing to champion and co-ordinate research across ICSs
  • Developments in Primary Care – for example working at scale, and “place” based research – supporting research across groups of practices in line with changes in service delivery.  We have engaged with the CRN CC on implementation of their Primary Care Strategy and members link into several of the NIHR Primary Care Programme Board subgroups
  • Digital Transformation and IT challenges in Primary Care research.  A huge amount of work has been done by 2 of our members to bring together some of the IT and data access challenges in relation to research in Primary Care and work is ongoing with our stakeholders on potential solutions.
  • Workforce and building capacity and infrastructure in Primary Care research – this work also feeds into the work with the CRN on implementation of their Primary Care Strategy.

We are keen to hear from the wider forum on any work they are undertaking within their ICSs around research and are happy for members to raise any topics of interest that they feel the group might be able to help with.  We are also happy to take expressions of interest from anyone who would like to join the group, please write to us via the main R&D Forum email address.


Reminder – Credit Accounts from RDF20 Bookings

The credits from the bookings that were made for the cancelled RDF20 Conference are available to be used for booking onto Training Courses and Symposia. The credits are allocated to the organisation and not the individual. The person who made the booking for RDF20 has been given access details for them to be able to use the credits to book any person from within the same organisation onto NHS R&D Forum events. The bookings do not need to be for the same person(s) booked for RDF20. Please contact the person who made the RDF20 booking to access the credits.

If you have RDF20 credit, you can use this to make booking for any future events detailed on the schedule for this year. Your credit must be used by the end of December 2022.


Local Capacity and Capability for Research

30th May

A one-day course designed to provide an understanding of the requirements of an NHS organisation when determining whether to take part in a particular research study as a host. It explains the principles of good study set up, the information required by the R&D office and where it can be obtained. It introduces delegates to the various systems and documents associated with research and also provides some guidance on developing relationships with key support departments and stakeholders within an NHS organisation.
Book here

Archiving Masterclass

13th June

An excellent course providing expert insights in the practicalities of research archiving procedures.

End of study procedures are the domain of both the NHS and the Sponsor and so if you are a Named archivist or just need to understand more about how to firm up your procedures then you should consider this one-day event.

Book here

Essentials of Research Sponsorship 

4th July
This course is designed to provide the essentials to become and/or improve the management of clinical research as a sponsor.  A one day course that will provide an opportunity to develop skills and gain knowledge in the underlying principles of sponsorship. The course covers widely accepted concepts that not only directly apply to sponsorship but are transferable to other areas of the research industry.

Book here

Essentials of NHS Research

5th & 6th September
The updated material includes a whole new look package of essentials for anyone looking for a complete overview of NHS R&D management.

This is a two day course. The first day covers the overall research landscape and the legislation and regulations that govern it, as well as the various aspects of research management and governance. Day two concentrates more on the design, development and management of a research project, as well as looking at wider issues of leadership and strategy.  The course is a mixture of traditional trainer presentation with interactive activities and discussions.

Book here

RDF 2022 Events Schedule

To view what else we have planned for the rest of the year, please click below.  Courses up to March are only available to book right now, but we will open the booking pages for April & May, events in due course.

National contract value review – operational details

National contract value review (NCVR): NHSE/I operational details published NHS England and Improvement (NHSE/I) have published updated information on the national contract value review (NCVR) – including a new webpage with operational and other detailed information needed to implement the NCVR programme. This follows the launch of NHSE/I’s data collection exercise with NHS trusts, which commenced from 1 April 2022. The latest NCVR updates can be found by clicking below.

Read more here


NIHR Updates


Contacting the R&D Forum

As a reminder, should you need to contact the Forum the best way is via email which is

The latest job vacancies displayed on our website.


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