In North Thames we deliver the national Study Support Services which helps researchers and the life sciences industry plan, set-up and deliver high quality research to time and target in both the NHS and the wider health and social care environment, across the CRN North Thames region.

The service exists to facilitate the smooth and timely progression of studies, from initial early engagement and identification of sites, through to successful delivery.

Here, we have described how we tailor each of the Study Support services in our network.

  • CRN Portfolio eligibility
  • Early Contact and Engagement
  • Early feedback
  • Site identification
  • Optimising delivery
  • Effective Study set-up
  • Performance monitoring
  • Research activity and Business intelligence

CRN Portfolio eligibility

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) Portfolio of studies consists of clinical research studies that are eligible for support from the NIHR CRN in England.

All high-quality research studies, eligible for NIHR CRN support in England, are included on the NIHR CRN Portfolio. NIHR CRN supported studies benefit from the following: 

  • Access to the NIHR CRN Study Support Service - a standard national framework for supporting the planning, set-up and delivery of high quality clinical research in England.
  • Provision of NHS support as defined by Attributing the costs of health and social care Research and Development (AcoRDand/or the equivalent of NHS Support in other settings (e.g. research carried out in social care, care homes, hospices, or public health settings).
  • Provision of Research Part B costs as defined by AcoRD (for studies funded by AMRC member charities only).
  • Access to relevant research delivery training, including Good Clinical Practice training.
  • ISRCTN registration via the Central Portfolio Management System. Registration of non-commercial studies with an interventional component is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care.

NIHR CRN support is available to all studies, regardless of location, study type, study size, therapy or research area, provided they meet the Department of Health and Social Care established eligibility criteria.

For more information on CRN Portfolio eligibility for Industry please contact:

For more information on CRN Portfolio eligibility for Non-Commercial please contact:  

Early contact and engagement

We can offer advice and guidance on:  

  • Eligibility advice
  • Regulatory submissions
  • Assistance with costing your study
  • Exploration of recruitment pathways
  • Local intelligence to optimise delivery

Commercial contract support

We can provide advice to sponsors, Contract Research Organisations (CROs) and sites on commercial research budgets and contractual arrangements. We can support the following:

To find out about any of the above, contact the industry team on:

Non-commercial AcoRD support

We have AcoRD Leads within North Thames who are able to ensure researchers have all the support they need around the attribution of study activities.

We can provide the following support:

  • Schedule of Events costing attribution tool validation at grant award stage and regulatory submission
  • Support the identification and approval of excess treatment costs.

To find out more information, contact the AcoRD team on:

For more information or support required pre-grant you can access the service via the Research Design Service in London.
You can also find NIHR funding opportunities on our Funding Opportunities page.

Early feedback

In addition to the central service we are able to offer local advice to industry life science and non-commercial partners. This advice includes the feasibility of successful study delivery based on local services, population and care pathways.

Site identification

Through local knowledge of our sites, services and population we can facilitate the identification of potential research sites. 

Optimising delivery

We optimise delivery through the Study Support Service, a free of charge service designed to be tailored to the needs of your study.

Using our knowledge of local sites, services and populations, combined with relevant performance data, we can provide additional information to enhance and complement a sponsor’s own feasibility assessment.  We strongly encourage CRN attendance at site qualification and feasibility meetings.  This allows us to gather first hand, study and local intelligence in order to streamline the set-up process, remove duplication and identify challenges early to proactively address them.  It also provides an opportunity to discuss recruitment and contingency plans and explore alternative and novel recruitment strategies.


Invitations for site qualification/site selection and feasibility meetings can be made directly to the CRN divisional teams or via the industry team. We would encourage sponsors, CRO and sites to engage early with CRN NT teams so that we can provide support throughout the site selection and set-up process.

If you would like to access this service please contact:


For non-commercial studies, we offer this service through Study Start Up and Delivery conversations to support set up, delivery and appropriate performance monitoring throughout the study.

If you would like to access this service please contact: 

Effective study set-up

Building on all previous interactions with the Study Support Service, we create and implement a study-wide action plan, detailing a single set of recommendations and key information for all study sites involved in your research - enabling a ‘do once and share’ approach.

Performance monitoring

Performance monitoring is a key part of the NIHR Clinical Research Network Study Support Service - helping researchers deliver studies on time and to target.

Monthly reports are produced and shared across our network with divisional teams, Clinical Speciality Leads and NHS trust Research and Development offices to closely monitor study performance against plan and proactively address potential challenges.

We engage with colleagues at a local and national level to address difficulties, learn from good practice and explore alternative and novel strategies to participant identification and recruitment.

Research activity and Business intelligence

We provide training as well as technical support and advice for data collection and the use of information systems within North Thames. We can also help direct you to research activity reports for studies delivered in North Thames.

The data systems and platforms

We use the Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS), Open Data Platform (ODP) and Local Portfolio Management System (EDGE).

See how our systems are integrated.

New users of CPMS or ODP can create an account.

For more details about access to CPMS, please refer to the guide on NIHR Learn (account required)

What is research activity data?

To find out more about the NIHR Research Activity Digital Innovation, visit the project page.

For a better understanding of Recruitment Activity Confirmation there are more guides and learning modules on NIHR Learn. New users of NIHR Learn can create an account.


For more information, please contact us at:

Accessibility statement

Read our Accessibility Statement

External links

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