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NIHR, CRN, South West Peninsula - Specialties

We support a diverse research portfolio in 30 specialities across the South West Peninsula region.

Our Specialties

The NIHR supports research being delivered through 30 specialty therapy areas. Each specialty is made up of expert clinical leaders and practitioners who work at both national and local levels to ensure that studies are delivered successfully and to promote awareness of research opportunities for participants to take part in. The specialty groups also support the dialogue between the life sciences industry and charities to ensure the pipeline of research studies and to facilitate the involvement of participants to make research more effective. Visit the main NIHR website to find out what is happening nationally in the different specialties.  

We help research teams in the following specialities:

Our Specialty Group Leads and Research Delivery Managers help to improve access to research in these areas.

Please contact our Study Support Service Team by emailing crnswpindustry@nihr.ac.uk if you are interested in setting up a study in any one of these specialties. 

Cancer

Cancer is one of over 30 specialties that bring together communities of clinical practice to provide national networks of research expertise. Our membership is made up of research-interested clinicians and practitioners at both national and local level. Our role is to ensure that the cancer studies included in our national portfolio of research receive the right support to ensure they are delivered successfully in the NHS - to time and target.

Key achievements of the Cancer Specialty include:

  • World-leading rates of cancer patient participation in clinical research
  • Continual increase in the recruitment of cancer patients to all studies and specifically to Randomised Controlled Trials and interventional studies
  • Growth in the portfolio of cancer studies year on year covering the full spectrum of cancer
  • NHS patients now have more opportunities to access treatment advances because studies are available nationally
  • Proving the link between research active trusts and better patient outcomes

Cancer is one of the largest specialty areas spanning all the different cancer types, focusing on improving diagnosis, treatment and prevention. We have a vast and diverse portfolio of over 1,000 studies that we support, which can be broken down into a number of disease areas across all ages, including the following:

  • Bladder and renal
  • Brain  
  • Breast  
  • Children's cancer and leukaemia  
  • Colorectal
  • Gynaecological  
  • Haematological oncology  
  • Head and neck  
  • Lung      
  • Lymphoma  
  • Palliative and supportive care
  • Primary care
  • Prostate
  • Psychosocial oncology and survivorship
  • Renal
  • Sarcoma
  • Skin cancer
  • Germ cell and Teenage and Young Adults
  • Upper gastrointestinal

Our Regional Cancer Contacts

  • Clinical Research Lead - Dr Duncan Wheatley
  • Clinical Research Specialty Lead - Dr Mohini Varughese
  • Research Delivery Manager - Chris Levett (c.levett@nhs.net)

Mental Health

Mental health is one of over 30 specialties which bring together communities of clinical practice to provide national networks of research expertise. It is made up of research-interested clinicians and practitioners at both national and local levels. Our job is to ensure that the mental health studies that are included in our national portfolio of research receive the right support to ensure they are delivered successfully in the NHS.

Our specialty supports a large range of studies carried out in England with the help of people who use NHS and social care services and people who work in them. We work with experienced researchers and mental health professionals working in local universities and services. There is a dedicated workforce, including clinical studies officers, who support research projects by identifying and recruiting eligible participants and negotiating with NHS trusts on behalf of a study team.

We support research that deals with a wide range of conditions such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, personality disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders, psychosis and addictions. Our portfolio includes studies that examine the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mental health conditions such as:

  • Reduction of anxiety and stress
  • Intervention for ill-treated infants to improve mental and physical health
  • Cognitive therapy for post-traumatic stress disorders in children and adults
  • Cognitive therapy with stress-related and somatoform disorders

Our Regional Mental Health Contacts

  • Clinical Research Lead - Dr Camille Carroll
  • Clinical Research Specialty Lead - Sharon Hudson
  • Research Delivery Manager - Claire West (claire.west@nhs.net)

Reproductive Health and Childbirth

The Reproductive Health and Childbirth Specialty is one of over 30 Specialties which bring together communities of clinical practice to provide national networks of research expertise.

Our job is to ensure that the reproductive health and childbirth studies that are included in our national portfolio of research receive the right support to ensure they are delivered successfully in the NHS.

The Reproductive Health and Childbirth Specialty oversees research that deals with areas such as:

  • Birth defects
  • Developmental disorders
  • Low birth weight
  • Preterm birth
  • Reduced fertility
  • Impotence

Our Regional Reproductive Health and Childbirth Contacts

Each Local Clinical Research Network has at least one nominated local Clinical Specialty Research Lead for Reproductive health. These clinicians lead research groups to promote and support Reproductive health research within the NHS trusts in their area.

At a national level the local leads come together to manage the national Reproductive health clinical research portfolio. This involves regularly reviewing the progress of studies, identifying barriers to recruitment, and coming up with solutions and strategies to help overcome those barriers. Our National Specialty Group of clinical experts offer advice and support to commercial and non-commercial customers looking to conduct research in the NHS.

  • Clinical Research Lead - Dr Gary Minto
  • Clinical Research Specialty Lead - Khadra Galaal
  • Research Delivery Manager - Alison Potter (alisonpotter@nhs.net)

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular Disease is one of over 30 specialties which bring together communities of clinical practice to provide national networks of research expertise and clinical leadership. It is made up of research-interested clinicians and practitioners who work at both national and local levels to ensure the studies that are included in our national portfolio of research are delivered successfully in the NHS.

There are more than seven million people in the United Kingdom living with cardiovascular disease, with over a quarter of all deaths a year resulting from the disease.

Cardiovascular disease research matters. It has meant:

  • improving clot-busting drugs to treat heart attack patients, increasing survival by 70 per cent
  • transforming treatments for cholesterol levels, significantly decreasing people's risk of heart disease
  • the discovery of genes linked to heart disease
  • better understanding of the mechanisms that can cause ‘sudden death’
  • supporting the trial of new medical devices to improve outcomes for patients

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) provides researchers with the practical support they need to make clinical studies happen in the NHS. This support covers every stage of research, from set up to delivery.

We provide world-class health service infrastructure - research support staff such as clinical research nurses, and research support services such as pharmacy, pathology and radiology - to support organisations seeking to conduct clinical research in the NHS in England. Some of this research is funded by the NIHR, but most of it is funded by NHS non-commercial partners and industry.

Our Regional Cardiovascular Diseases Contacts

  • Clinical Research Lead - Dr Andy Appelboam
  • Clinical Research Specialty Lead - Dr Ashish Kotecha
  • Research Delivery Manager - Gayle Mazer (gayle.githens-mazer@nhs.net)

Dementia

The Dementias and Neurodegeneration (DeNDRoN) specialty supports the set up and delivery of clinical research in the NHS in a range of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases. Our job is to ensure that studies into dementias and neurodegeneration that are included in our national portfolio of research receive the right support to make sure they are delivered successfully in the NHS.

UK Dementia research is fully embedded in NHS clinical practice. Expertise exists in all stages and types of dementia, from pre-symptomatic through mild cognitive impairment to more advance stages. This includes Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementias, vascular cognitive impairment, mixed dementias, frontotemporal dementia and other less common forms. Studies span the full translational research pathway.

Neurodegeneration as part of the Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases (DeNDRoN) Specialty, is made up of leading research-interested clinicians and practitioners at both national and local levels. We support studies in neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Motor Neurone Disease and ensure they are delivered to time and target.

We support researchers from across a range of disciplines including neurology, old age psychiatry, geriatric medicine, genetics, general practice, psychology, nursing and other allied health professions. We deliver this research across a wide range of health care settings, including primary and community care, mental health services and acute hospitals.

We are working with NHS trusts, research funders and patient support organisations to promote the successful delivery of research studies in the NHS that will address patient’s needs. We help researchers to understand how their studies into dementias and neurodegenerative diseases will work in the NHS.

Where there are considerable overlaps with other specialty areas, for example neurological disorders, mental health and age and aging, we work closely with our colleagues from across the Network to deliver high quality collaborative research.

In the South West our teams of research staff are specialists in facilitating the set up and recruitment to studies in England. We have substantial experience of supporting all types of research studies including complex and multi-centre clinical interventions. We work with researchers and clinicians in a diverse range of specialities and collaborate with patient charities.  We have a strong tradition of public and patient involvement in our research.

Our Dementia Specialty has a skilled and experienced workforce, enhanced by our Rater training programme. Through Join Dementia Research we help facilitate patient participation in research and accelerate recruitment to dementia studies.

National Dementias and Neurodegeneration Clinical Specialty Leads

Each of our 15 Local Clinical Research Networks has at least one nominated local Clinical Specialty Research Lead for Dementias and Neurodegeneration. These clinicians lead research groups to promote and support Dementias and Neurodegeneration research within the NHS Trusts in their area.

At a national level the local leads come together to manage the national Dementias and Neurodegeneration clinical research portfolio. This involves regularly reviewing the progress of studies, identifying barriers to recruitment, and coming up with solutions and strategies to help overcome those barriers. Our National Specialty Group of clinical experts offer advice and support to commercial and non-commercial customers looking to conduct research in the NHS.

Working with the Life Sciences

The NIHR Clinical Research Network Dementias and Neurodegeneration Specialty has been very successful in recruiting patients to studies.  With our membership extending throughout the UK we can facilitate and recruit to a wide range of diverse studies. In addition to this, Join Dementia Research has been established to facilitate recruitment to ethically approved dementia research studies taking place in the UK.

What else do we offer?

Clinical Studies Groups (CSGs)

Clinical Studies Groups provide strategic oversight, support and monitor development and delivery of specialty research across the UK. The groups aim to ensure high quality delivery of a well-designed and balanced mix of commercial and non-commercial research, and that this is available to all NHS patients. Membership includes clinical, scientific, funding body, patient and carer representatives from around the nation. It provides leadership, facilitated research development and multi-centre collaborations as well as bringing new studies to the clinical environment in an effective and timely manner. CSGs are represented on the NIHR CRN specialty groups, enabling collaboration.

CSGs exists for the following neurodegenerative disorders:

Portfolio Development Groups (PDGs)

Portfolio Development Groups are composed of experienced researchers from diverse disciplines and lay members within the specialty field that promote the development of innovative ideas into funded research. The PDG's remit includes identifying research gaps as well as supporting Writing Groups to formulate and prepare grant applications for clinical studies.

PDGs exist for the following neurodegenerative disorders:

Dementia Researcher: A network for early career researchers

Being an early career researcher can be incredibly rewarding and challenging too. It is as much about new discoveries, collaborations and ideas as it is about the pressure to publish papers and the competition for funding. The Dementia Researcher website is a place to go to when you need some inspiration or want to get advice from other early career researchers and leading experts

Our Regional Dementias and Neurodegeneration Contacts

  • Clinical Research Lead - Dr Camille Carroll
  • Clinical Research Specialty Lead - Dr Joseph Butchart
  • Research Delivery Manager - Claire West (claire.west@nhs.net)