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. 

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.


Funding Allocation for 2020/21

Kate Jones , CRN KSS Chief Operating Officer (24/02/20). 

Strategic Funding Group, 4 March 2020.


The co-ordinating centre (CC) for the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) funding model for distribution of funding to regional networks for 2020/21 has now been confirmed.

This is outlined below:

  • 80/20 split between fixed and variable elements
  • 80% fixed element based on the proportional 2018/19 allocations for the following three years
  • 20% variable element based a balanced scorecard approach

The Balanced Score Card

Made up as:
4% based on HLO 1 – 18/19 data recruitment multiplied by success rate against target
4% based on HLO 2a – 18/19 data, number of passed studies multiplied by success rate
4% based on HLO 2b – 18/`9 data, number of passed studies multiplied by success rate
4% based on specialty objectives – 18/19 data, based on success rate.
4% based on activity in areas of prevalence – see appendix 1

Table 1 Funding Allocation to Kent Surrey and Sussex CRN 2020/21

An overall 0.9% increase in funding has been agreed based on the performance against the balanced scorecard. A detailed breakdown is still to be seen.

TOTAL FUNDING not including top slice  £14,205,553.00
ETC top slice £59,798.00
HOST 2% £284,111.06
CORE 10% + 3% COL £1,463,171.96
PARTNERS £12,032,103.39
Partner B and C £429,562.08
Partner A £11,577,438.07
Contingency £25,103.24

Local Model for 20/21 allocation

After discussion with both the CRN CC and the local partners, it has been decided to drop the penalties imposed for not meeting RTT for commercial studies used last year. This is due to the perception that these penalties are causing a behaviour amongst researchers to underestimate their recruitment potential and set low targets.
The current local funding model used for the 2020/21 allocation is summarised below:

Table 2 Increase/decrease adjustment scheme for VFM (as a proxy for delivery to HLO 1)

VFM 18/19 Funding Adjustment
>£140 10% cut
£120-140 5% cut
£80 - 120 No adjustment
£60-80 5% uplift
<£60 10% uplift

Safeguard cap and collar – to prevent undue pressure on delivery teams and moderate the gains, a maximum value of reduction or increase of £60,000 will be imposed. Recurrent funding will be ring fenced and not subject to increase or decrease.

Cost of living increases, bonuses and national performance adjustments

In financial year 2018/19 the DHSC agreed to a three-year programme of incremental cost of living increases (COL) to all NHS agenda for change staff. No additional funding has been provided to cover these costs in 2020/21. In order to assure the workforce and manage the risk to staff, CRN KSS have included a 3% uplift into all the final allocations for partners and core staff. This has used up most of the contingency funding for 2020/21, especially with the loss of performance penalties against HLO 2a.

The overall national allocation has increased by 0.9%, due to performance against the balanced scorecard. This has been incorporated into all allocations. We have previously agreed that as a team working across this region we would withstand performance adjustments (favourable or punitive) across all partners.

Bonus schemes remain suspended until COL rises can be covered without risk.

Related pages