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Maximising the Benefits of Research

Date: 22 March 2023

England has a vibrant research and development ecosystem, with well-developed research infrastructure and research expertise within our health and care workforce. The value of research in transforming health and care is significant; additionally, staff satisfaction, recruitment and retention is higher among staff who are involved in research. The inception of integrated care systems (ICSs) provides the opportunity for systems to embed research within health and care for the benefit of our population. Supporting this opportunity, a clear research thread runs through ICS strategies and plans, from joint strategic needs assessments and joint health and wellbeing strategiesintegrated care strategiesjoint forwards plans, integrated care board (ICB) annual reports and the assessment by NHS England of the discharge of duties by ICBs.

The Health and Care Act 2022 (the 2022 Act) sets new legal duties on ICBs around the facilitation and promotion of research in matters relevant to the health service, and the use in the health service of evidence obtained from research. NHS England will assess ICBs for their discharge of these duties. The ICS design framework sets the expectation that in arranging provision of health services, ICBs will facilitate their partners in the health and care system to work together, combining expertise and resources to foster and deploy research and innovations. This guidance supports ICBs in fulfilling their research duties.

ICSs are encouraged to develop a research strategy that aligns to or could be included in their integrated care strategy. This strategy will enable the unification of research across ICS partners, and be consistently embedded to:

  • identify and address local research priorities and needs, and work collaboratively to address national research priorities
  • improve the quality of health and care and outcomes for all through the evidence generated by research
  • increase the quality, quantity and breadth of research undertaken locally
  • extend and expand research in settings such as primary care, community care, mental health services, public health and social care
  • drive the use of research evidence for quality improvement and evidence-based practice
  • influence the national research agenda to better meet local priorities and needs
  • improve co-ordination and standardisation within and between localities for the set up and delivery of research
  • harness the patient and economic benefits of commercial contract research
  • co-ordinate and develop the research workforce across all settings

To read the full guidance for integrated care systems, visit: 

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