We provide researchers and life sciences companies with the practical support they need to plan, set up and deliver high-quality research in both the NHS and the wider health and social care environment across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

We support research in 30 health specialities and recently we have started to support social care research.   

Research Delivery Managers

Our Research Delivery Managers manage the delivery of a specific set of studies relating to a particular specialty or specialties. A list of our Research Delivery Managers and their specialties can be found on our specialties page. 

Study Support Service for life sciences

If you are from a life sciences company contact our Industry Operations Manager James Porreca crnkss.studysupport@nihr.ac.uk


New Programmes for Early Career in Research Investment

Following on from the success of the Green Shoots Programme last year, in collaboration with the RDS SE, 70@70 nurses and the newly formed NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC), NIHR CRN KSS has established four support initiatives for up and coming researchers in the region.

1. Seedlings programme: led by the KSS 70@70 nurses

This programme aims to support health and social care staff from any background to develop an idea from practice into a researchable question.
If you have an idea you think would make a good research question we would like to work with you to develop your idea and the skills you need to take it forward.
No research experience is necessary and we actively encourage all professionals from any health and social care sector to submit their ideas.

The deadline for submission has passed. 

2. Research Ready programme: led by Professor Rajkumar

Across KSS a number of conditions, diseases and health priorities are very prevalent. For some of these areas we are either not very research active or our research activity needs further growth to maintain a pipeline of studies.

In order to encourage this growth, CRN KSS would like to invest in these priority areas in order to create capacity for trainees and early career professionals to develop their research skills and embed research within their practice. For this to succeed, teams need the guidance and support of our most senior and seasoned clinicians so that a team approach can be developed and enable research to be offered to patients/clients as part of care.

The six priority areas below have been selected for 2020. £10, 000 will be awarded to the CRN KSS Specialty Lead for these areas. In collaboration with the Research Delivery Manager for the specialty and their R&D departments, Specialty Leads will be asked to develop an investment plan for this money to promote region wide engagement in their specialty.
Prevalent priority areas are:
1. Respiratory
2. Diabetes
3. Stroke
4. Dementia
5. Mental health
6. Cancer

3. Greenshoots/team shoots: led by NIHR ARC KSS

We are delighted to announce that we are running our Greenshoots programme again this year. £10 000 is available for 12 months to protect time for a first time, would-be Chief Investigator. This time is protected to work up a research proposal, ready for submitting a funding application.

Having reviewed the experiences of our last cohort, the following elements have been added to the programme:

  • Matched funding from the employer will be required in order to protect sufficient time to conduct all the preparative work required to develop an ‘application ready proposal’. The employing organisation must also demonstrate how R&D will help guide and assist the applicant and how the money will be used to support the applicant (extra hours or an altered job plan).
  • A basic course in developing and managing research is now a compulsory element of the programme. Courses will be commissioned at the University of Surrey and the University of Kent to match the learning objectives of the existing course run by Brighton and Sussex Medical School’s Clinical Trials Unit.
  • A support team will be assigned to the applicant with experts from the CRN , ARC and RDS to coach the applicant.
    A mentor will need to be nominated in collaboration with the appropriate Research Delivery Manager for the specialty area.

Priority themes for this Green shoots programme 2020/21 will be:

  • Mental Health and wellbeing (including dementia)
    Starting well
    Digital initiatives
    Older people, frailty, isolation, ageing well and end of life care
    Multi-morbidities and managing complex health needs, including the relationship between mental health and physical co-morbidities.
    Public health and social care projects

As we develop the Greenshoots programme in the coming years we would like to work towards a Team Shoots award. This would be a larger block of funding available to a KSS wide, multidisciplinary team to develop a research proposal resulting in a multicentre study with benefits for the KSS population. It is understood that such a team proposal will need time to develop and the collaboration would need time to be established. The first call for this award is planned for Q4 2020/21. Warning is being given now so that teams can start multi-setting, multi-disciplinary conversations now.

The deadline for submission has passed. 

4. The Bid Rehabilitation Programme: led by Dr Egan NIHR RDS SE

Have you had a bid get through to last application stage only to be disappointed at the final hurdle?
Don’t let it get you down! Let’s get a multidisciplinary team together and see if we can bring it back to life. The CRN will be happy to host a meeting for you to liaise with other experts, advisers, service users and service staff from across the region. Funding can be used to cover:

  • Room hire and refreshments
  • Travel
  • 1 day/half day back-fill for busy staff ( at a reasonable rate)

This will hopefully help you establish the next steps for your project and help you keep going!




Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) in research

We can help you with involving members of the public with your research, whether you are a researcher new to public involvement in research, or you have experience and are looking to update and ‘refresh’ your knowledge and skills. 

Email crnkentsurreysussex@nihr.ac.uk to contact our team. 

How do I involve members of the public in my research?

NIHR INVOLVE is a national advisory group  which supports greater public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research and has several resources to help you.

Involvement - where members of the public are actively involved in research projects and in research organisations.

Examples of public involvement are:
• as joint grant holders or co-applicants on a research project
• identifying research priorities
• as members of a project advisory or steering group
• commenting and developing patient information leaflets or other research materials
• undertaking interviews with research participants
• user and/or carer researchers carrying out the research.

Why involve members of the public in research?

Several funding bodies, as well as research ethics committees ask grant applicants about their plans for public involvement with an expectation that if they are not involving members of the public in the research then they need to have thought through why they have made this decision and explain the reasons.

Involving members of the public in research provides practical benefits including:

  • providing a different perspective
  • improving the quality of the research
  • making the research more relevant.


Summary of Local Funding Allocation Model for 2019-20

Introduction - National Funding Model Changes

The coordinating centre (CC) for the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) implemented a new funding model for distribution of funding to regional networks from 2019/20 onwards. This is outlined below:

  • 80/20 split between fixed and variable elements
  • 80% fixed element based on 2018/19 allocations for the next three years
  • 20% variable element based predominantly on High Level Objectives (HLO) and Specialty Objectives using a balanced scorecard approach
  • 2% of allocation to be ring-fenced for spending on initiatives to increase participation in selected specific disease areas.

Balanced Scorecard

  • 5% based on HLO 1 – 2017/18 data recruitment multiplied by success rate against target
  • 5% based on HLO 2a – 2017/18 data, number of passed studies (recruitment to time and target) multiplied by success rate
  • 5% based on HLO 2b – 2017/18 data, number of passed studies (recruitment to time and target) multiplied by success rate
  • 5% based on specialty objectives – 2017/18 data, based on success rate. Not all specialty objectives will be used.

Local Model for 2019/20 - Value for Money and Commercial Recruitment to Time and Target combined model.

In order to adequately reflect the changes to the national model locally, elements of the balanced scorecard were incorporated into the local funding model for Partner Organisations (POs). Note measures used were for 2017/18 and applied to funding in 2019/20. This was because full validated performance figures for 2018/19 were not available until part way through quarter 1 of 2019/20. This was too late to confirm funding to our POs.

As in previous years’ models, a metric referred to as Value for Money (VFM) has been applied. This was calculated for each PO as total recurrent funding awarded to the PO, divided by the total weighted recruitment for a given year, giving a cost per weighted recruit. If the cost per weighted recruit exceeded £120 the PO was regarded as having a poor VFM and received cuts to funding. If the cost per weighted recruit was between £80 and £120 the VFM fell within an acceptable range and the funding remained static. If the cost per weighted recruit fell below £80 it was considered current funding levels put the PO at risk of underfunding and not being able to sustain performance so an increase in funding was applied. Table 1 shows the funding adjustments.

Table 1 Increase/decrease adjustment scheme for VFM (proxy for delivery to HLO 1)

VFM 17/18 Funding Adjustment
>£140 10% cut
£120-140 5% cut
£80 - 120 No adjustment
£60-80 5% uplift
<£60 10% uplift

The introduction of performance against Recruitment to Time and Target (RTT) for commercial and non-commercial studies was considered for inclusion in the local funding model, in order to reflect the national balanced scorecard. Performance on non-commercial studies (HLO 2b) is hard to measure locally as some studies do not currently apply local site targets and performance is measured on a study wide, rather than site, basis. Performance against commercial studies (HLO 2a), however, is more measurable and most Trusts and delivery teams understand the emphasis placed on delivering commercial research to time and target. There were no rewards for achieving RTT, as the reward is the extra commercial income and future business opportunities this success attracts. In this model the overall reduction in funding for the whole budget due to this metric was attributed to those who did not achieve the threshold for the metric. Those not taking part in commercial research were not penalised. Penalties imposed for not meeting RTT for commercial studies are shown in Table 2.

Table 2 - Penalties imposed for not meeting RTT for commercial studies

RTT for commercial studies as % 17/18 % cut to funding
80-100% 0
60-80% -2%
<60% -5%

Safeguard Cap and Collar
To prevent undue pressure on delivery teams and moderate any gains, a maximum value of reduction or increase of £60,000 was imposed.


Contingency Funding

Two percent of the allocation must be ring-fenced for spending on initiatives to increase participation in selected specific disease areas. In order to contribute to this objective, any contingency remaining after the above funding model was applied will be available for POs and others to bid for. Bids need to demonstrate increased recruitment to studies in the following priority areas.

  • Respiratory studies
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Mental health
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular

Funding will be allocated September 2019.

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