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Date: 16 December 2020

Participants in NIHR-supported Covid-19 research exceeds half a million

Over six hundred thousand participants from across the UK have now taken part in NIHR-supported urgent public health research into Covid-19, in just over eight months. Since the first studies opened, the NIHR has supported the rapid set-up and delivery of 73 urgent public health studies into Covid-19 – investigating a range of potential treatments, vaccines, observational studies to learn more about the disease, as well as research into new diagnostic technology. NHS hospitals have played a vital role in delivering studies at pace and scale, enabling hospitalised patients to benefit from the latest therapeutics against Covid-19 – in addition to helping tens of thousands of people gain early access to vaccine candidates through trials running across the country. Read more.


COVID and me – vaccine stories

A new collection of short films has been launched to help build public awareness and trust in COVID-19 vaccine research. Hosted on the Be Part of Research website, the collection builds on the previous success of COVID and Meand has been commissioned by the NIHR and produced in partnership with The University of Leeds and the Theatre of Debate.

These films highlight the different challenges, decisions and fears individuals’ face when deciding whether to take part in vaccine research. They are based on people’s lived experiences so are factual, but embellished in order to better convey the messages. The films were produced to ensure all communities who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 understand the importance of taking part in vaccine trials.


Restart case studies

The NIHR ‘Restarting research’ page includes a range of case studies sharing great examples of organisations and study teams that have overcome barriers to (re)starting non Covid research. Are you experiencing any challenges? Find out if colleagues in other parts of the country have already found a solution which works for them by browsing the categories. Do you have a case study which might benefit colleagues in other Trusts? Please reach out to your LCRN communications manager who can help share your story.


Restarting cancer research: opportunity to share your view

As part of the Restart programme, the NIHR Clinical Research Network is working with Cancer Research UK, NHSE/I and UKRD to review the barriers to recruitment for ten trials selected by Cancer Research UK. The intention is to see what lessons may be learnt which may be of wider applicability to the Restart programme.

Supported by UKRD a brief survey has been developed. If you are a R&D department taking part in one of the listed studies, please share your views and invite Principal Investigators at your site to complete the survey as well. Findings from the survey will be analysed and shared with input from R&D colleagues.


NIHR Aerosol Generating Procedures Task and Finish Group

The Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGP) Task and Finish Group, chaired by Professor Mark Hull, has convened in response to the need for research evidence relating to clinical procedures that generate aerosols and potential spread of SARS-CoV-2, as well as other pathogens.
Reporting to the Urgent Public Health Group, the AGP Group brings together multi-disciplinary expertise to support existing AGP projects, identify research gaps and enable use of core protocols and datasets across studies leading to mitigation of AGP risk.

In collaboration with the Chief Medical Officer’s commissioned independent high-risk AGP Group, it strives to accelerate pathways to impact of AGP research across all medical and dental specialties. The Group convenes on a fortnightly basis. The Group welcomes academic groups, industrial partners and other organisations with an interest in mitigation of risk associated with all AGPs. Please contact Isabel Baker for enquiries (


What is Health Research? – An NIHR Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Have you, or someone you know, ever wondered what health research is and what it involves? Do you want to know what the common myths are and explore ways to get involved? Would you like to hear from people who have taken part in health research and learn why they volunteered?

By joining this free online course you will discover how research is improving health care; find out what’s involved in health research, bust the common myths surrounding health research and explore ways to get involved.

The course runs for 3 weeks 11 January, which is when the Lead Educator and Mentors are actively involved in discussions with the learners. At the end of those weeks, the course will continue to run with little to no involvement from the Mentors. The course will continue to be open for learners to sign up to and take part in until the start of the next run of the course (in a few months time).

To find out more information about the course and to join, please follow the link to the course homepage:

Contact: Sarah Cluderay, Digital Learning Designer (


New look for NIHR Learn

We are excited to share the news that are now launching a new look and feel for NIHR Learn – our online learning platform that supports over 45000 colleagues across the research landscape every year. The new theme went live on Monday 7th December  and provides learners with a fresh and intuitive look and feel, easy access to your learning record and links to recommended learning based on current priorities and most popular learning. This first launch is part of an ongoing programme of development that will also soon see us introducing tailored learning based on your learner profile and exciting new functionality that will enable you to rate, comment and recommend learning resources to colleagues.

Any users visiting the platform site from Monday 7th December will initially be presented with a quick user tour showing you how to navigate the new front page, and any links or courses you already use will remain the same, so we are expecting a smooth and easy transition for all our learners, but if you have any queries you can see a quick preview and FAQs here


Innovation in Trail Design and Study Delivery during the COVID pandemic Podcast Series II

Following on from our first round of podcasts that evolved from the recommendations in the paper; Effective delivery of Complex Innovative Design (CID) cancer trials- a consensus statement focusing on complex innovative design trials the NIHR CRN coordinating center has again collaborated with the Health Research Authority and in this series, the NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure. This time, we will be discussing some of the key learning points from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as: –

Has the recent success using innovative design and delivery of research studies during the COVID pandemic been part due to the advance of innovation in trials pre-COVID-19?

Could Continuous Improvement mean innovation in COVID-19 research inform studies post the pandemic? And how can we evidence this?

The general learnings and happenings throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will be building on the further questions around the management and delivery of innovative design trials during the pandemic.

We will deliver a ‘playlist’ of podcasts aimed at anyone with an interest in designing, delivering or reviewing Innovation in Trail Design and Study Delivery. They are presented by experienced research professionals from across the research environment.

The new round of podcasts will be going live early next year and will be available on our Soundcloud page here.

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