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Vacancy: Clinical Research Specialty Lead for the Children's specialty — CRN North West London


Role: Clinical Research Specialty Lead for the Children's specialty (job share — 0.5 PA per post)

Accountable to: Clinical Director, NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) North West London

Hours: 0.5 per week until end of September 2024

Salary: Pro-rata salary at a senior grade within the pay scale for the post holder’s professional group

Liaises with:

  • relevant Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN) Research Delivery Manager
  • relevant LCRN Clinical Research Lead, Clinical Research Specialty Leads, Children’s Specialty Co-Lead
  • LCRN Clinical Research Leadership Group
  • LCRN Industry Operations Manager
  • Clinical Research Lead, Clinical Research Specialty Leads in other LCRNs, National CRN Clinical Theme and National Specialty Leads
  • R&D Directors and the clinical community working within the specialty at LCRN partner organisations
  • researchers based in universities and other organisations, and other stakeholders involved in the specialty in the LCRN area
  • NIHR CRN Coordinating Centre
  • senior staff at Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs)
  • senior staff at local education and training boards (LETBs)
  • CEOs, senior staff, R&D leads, research reads, nurses and managers within NHS organisations, universities, industry, and other stakeholder

Role summary and purpose

The post holder will lead the development of LCRN clinical activity within a specified specialty, encouraging local clinicians to participate in NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio studies, building upon local clinical strengths and research interests and priorities. In particular the Clinical Research Specialty Lead will assist the Research Delivery Manager with the clinical perspectives of the delivery of the studies managed within the specialty and the development of the local infrastructure to support the specialty’s local portfolio of research studies.

The post holder will engage with the National Specialty and NIHR CRN Clinical Theme Leadership and contribute to national strategies and initiatives to support the successful delivery of the specialty’s national objectives and act as the key link between the national networks of specialty-specific expertise and the LCRN.

Key duties and responsibilities

  1. Provide clinical leadership, advice and accountability for specialty activities and performance, working closely with the LCRN Clinical Director, Research Delivery Manager, Clinical Research Leadership Group, Partnership Group, providers of NHS services, NIHR Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre, NIHR CRN National Clinical Theme and National Specialty Lead, and specialty leads from other LCRNs.

  2. Engage with the local clinical research community within the relevant specialty to ensure the timely and effective delivery of all the studies on the local NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio with particular reference to the LCRN’s contribution to the national objectives for the specialty and the High Level Objectives as required in the LCRN Host Organisation Contract.

  3. Proactively promote local clinical engagement and awareness of research within the specialty, providing advice, support, encouragement and mentorship to clinicians who express an interest in becoming involved in a research project.

  4. Work with the Clinical Research Leadership Group in delivering the objectives of the LCRN and in providing clinical leadership for the local delivery of NIHR CRN Portfolio studies. This will involve identifying local strengths, capacity and capability to ensure that the continued development of the local portfolio maximises patient focussed research opportunities for patients across all sectors of the LCRN population.

  5. Work with local investigators, NHS organisations and the LCRN management team to agree and report on the objectives and targets for the specialty in order to contribute to LCRN performance over the annual planning cycle.

  6. Provide a strategic overview of the local infrastructure required to support the clinical research specialty with an emphasis on identifying and addressing local blocks to successful delivery, referring issues to the National Clinical Research Specialty Lead and/or NIHR CRN Theme Leadership as appropriate.

  7. Provide local intelligence to the national NIHR CRN Specialty/Clinical Theme Leadership, including: pressures/issues relating to the delivery of the portfolio, examples of good practice and positive impact in their locality, locally-led studies that are open to recruitment at new sites, emerging clinical needs, and unrepresented patient populations.

  8. Be an active member of the National Specialty Group, attending national meetings and contributing to national initiatives led by the national Specialty Group. Where the portfolio of the National Specialty Group is significant, members might also be expected to take a national (and local) leadership role for part of the specialty’s national portfolio, or for some specific studies.

  9. Work with and support NHS organisations within the LCRN area to maximise their involvement in NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio studies, with particular reference to industry studies.

  10. Link with the NIHR local infrastructure (e.g. BRUs, ARCs, etc) to develop effective partnerships.

  11. Support the development of new ways of working that will increase the integration of health research and patient care, and improve the quality, speed and co-ordination of clinical research.

  12. Support the Research Delivery Manager to ensure the LCRN delivers in line with the LCRN Host Organisation Contract.

  13. Help to develop local research capacity for the specialty through actively seeking new opportunities for contributing to national multicentre studies and identifying local opportunities to expand expertise/experience across the LCRN’s geography.

  14. Work with the Research Delivery Manager to undertake local feasibility assessments and reviews for commercial studies, including identifying potential sites and investigators that could conduct the study, assessing the available research resources including skills, facilities and equipment and providing robust recruitment goals.

  15. Keep up to date with changes to national and local healthcare arrangements in order to advise the LCRN on new potential opportunities and/or challenges to the delivery of the NIHR CRN portfolio of studies.

  16. Work in close collaboration with neighbouring LCRNs to remove artificial barriers to participation in NIHR CRN Portfolio studies.

  17. Contribute to national CRN initiatives, in particular developing and sharing best practice.

  18. To engage with NIHR Faculty including senior investigators.

  19. Promote NIHR CRN activity and the aims, objectives and successes of the NIHR throughout the network area and represent the CRN at local, regional and national meetings.

Essential requirements

The Clinical Research Specialty Lead will play a key leadership role in the ongoing development and performance of the LCRN and will provide the vital link between the local, geographically-based networks (LCRNs) and national networks of specialty-specific expertise which is essential to the success of the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

Clinical Research Specialty Leads must be facilitative, able to work flexibly and effectively in a developing organisation and to motivate and support others to deliver measurable results that make the NIHR CRN vision a reality.

It is expected that the Clinical Research Specialty Lead will be actively participating in the recruitment to at least one NIHR Portfolio research study. The support which they receive will therefore reflect both their personal contribution to delivering the NIHR’s portfolio of research studies, their local leadership role and their contribution to the national networks of specialty-specific expertise.

It is essential that candidates demonstrate their achievements, ability and expertise against the following criteria:

  • a motivational leader with well-developed interpersonal skills and the ability to work with stakeholders at all levels
  • an effective facilitator who is able to bring colleagues together to work in a collegiate way for the overall benefit of the local community in which they work
  • excellent communication and presentational skills with the enthusiasm to act as a champion
  • the influencing skills to achieve results through other people
  • strongly committed to bringing benefits to patients through the delivery of excellent patient focussed clinical research within the NHS
  • experience as a clinical investigator leading a multicentre clinical research study
  • experience of undertaking research in the NHS
  • ability to contribute constructively in meetings and appreciate both national and local aspects with a willingness to lead initiatives at both these levels


Submit the following to by 8 September 2023:

  1. CV (max three pages)
  2. Cover letter
  3. Contact details (phone and email)

For any queries, please contact Reggie Pestininkas, Research Delivery Manager (email above), or the current post holders Dr Elizabeth Whittaker at, and Dr Nilanjana Ray at

Further information