NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) South West Peninsula - Training

Training in the South West

We are committed to supporting the ongoing professional development of health and care professionals across the South West region. Throughout the year, we offer a range of training opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills of health and care professionals involved in research and its delivery.

COVID-19 training update

In light of COVID-19, all face to face training courses have been cancelled until April 2021. The NIHR’s priority is to support the delivery of nationally adopted and approved urgent public health studies and so key actions are being taken by the Clinical Research Network to ensure all staff involved in health research continue to be suitably qualified through experience, education and training. Please review our online training options below. 

Accessing training via NIHR Learn

NIHR Learn is the online platform we use to deliver our accredited learning programmes. Our programmes have been developed by international leaders from the clinical research field and are available to anyone directly employed by the NHS, UK universities and other publicly funded organisations conducting and supporting research. You can log in to NIHR Learn to view our full range of courses.

If you have a pre-approved email domain email address (e.g. or, please access our training on NIHR Learn. A domain list is available on NIHR Learn Help.

If you are a volunteer and returning to NHS duties, a separate learning platform Open Learn has been designed to provide access to online training for COVID-19 studies only.

Please take a look at our guide, Get started with NIHR Learn, or contact  if you have any questions.

Training programmes available on NIHR Learn

National vaccine training package
The National Vaccine Training Package is now live on NIHR Learn.  The training can be accessed by selecting 'Covid-19 Vaccine Trials Training' from the banner menu at the top of the landing page. Users are required to select a job role before navigating through the curated series of essential, desirable and optional training.  

Good Clinical Practice (GCP)

Introduction and Refresher courses are available as e-learning. Sign into NIHR Learn and Click on 'GCP online' (on the top bar).

Informed Consent Training

There is a newly developed e-learning course called ‘Informed Consent Fundamentals for Observational Studies’. This is available on NIHR Learn (under 'GCP online').

The NIHR national workforce development runs two Informed Consent webinars per month. The webinars are aimed at those involved in COVID-19 studies. To register for a place, please complete the expression of interest form found on the Home page of NIHR Learn: Register interest in an Informed Consent webinar.

If you have already completed NIHR face to face Informed Consent training, you do not need to do the online course or webinar.

PI Essentials

A new webinar course has been developed to support Principal Investigators (PIs) taking on COVID -19 studies. A schedule of dates will be confirmed shortly. To register an interest, please complete the Google form on the homepage of NIHR Learn: Register interest in a PI Essential webinar.

Research Practice in a Clinical Setting

A new online course has been designed for those ​working on COV001 and COV002 research studies that have no 'freedom to act'. Where individuals are acting wholly under Standard Operating Procedures/instructions, and would escalate anything which falls outside of these for action by someone else, they are delivering without freedom to act. It covers:

  • Understanding the foundation of clinical research
  • Understanding the core - legal, regulatory and financial frameworks
  • Underpinning clinical research in the UK
  • Understanding the Principles of Informed Consent
  • Understanding the importance of documentation and good record keeping
  • Understanding the requirements of safety reporting

This is NOT an Introduction to Good Clinical Practice (GCP). 

Research staff who are required to complete GCP training should undertake the 'An Introduction to Good Clinical Practice (GCP)' e-learning.  Additional learning may also be required by study sponsors and Trust R&D departments.


For general issues and information on the CRN South West Peninsula face to face learning programme, please email

For help creating or accessing your NIHR Learn or Open Learn accounts, please contact the CRN Coordinating Centre (CRNCC) service desk by emailing They can help with all account related queries. The CRNCC service desk is available Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm.

What is the Clinical Research Network? 

Research Learning Resources

The Research Learning Resources site offers a guide to the Clinical Research Network. The site will equip new research staff working in the South West Peninsula, West of England, Wessex, and Thames Valley and South Midlands Clinical Research Networks with all the information they need to start their role. For experienced researchers, it’s also a great place to refresh knowledge or learn something new.

On the site you will find useful resources such as ‘Introduction to the Clinical Research Network’ which provides an overview of the NIHR and the CRN, and ‘Introduction to Research’ which has key information for new staff starting a career in research. 

Specialty and unique training courses and events

We run a series of unique events and training opportunities over the course of the year. The topics covered are broad and in recent years these have included grant application support, social care research development, Parkinson’s disease rater training and pharmacist conferences. To keep up-to-date with the latest training, events and funding opportunities sign up to our Stakeholder Newsletter or follow us on Twitter at @NIHRSW.

Get in touch

For general training queries, please contact us at:

Telephone: 01392 403812