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COVID-19 updates from CRN North Thames

COVID-19 updates from CRN North Thames
If you wish to contact CRN North Thames with any queries, please email 

NIHR's response to COVID-19

On behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the NIHR is funding and helping to deliver a range of “rapid response” research to better understand and tackle COVID-19. NIHR are doing this in close cooperation with Public Health England, UK Research & Innovation, the Health Research Authority and others. Further information can be accessed at

Useful links


Update - 6 April 2020

Below is information which has been released over the last few weeks.

Pausing set-up of new or ongoing non COVID-19 studies

Until further notice, the NIHR CRN is pausing the site set-up of any new or ongoing studies at NHS and social care sites that are not nationally prioritised COVID-19 studies. During this time, the MHRA and HRA will continue to provide an approvals service for all studies, prioritised in accordance with the national situation, ensuring site set-up can restart promptly in due course.
Additional information is available in the Q&A.
If you require assistance please make your request via email to our Study Support Service mailbox

CRN support and HRA Approval interdependencies

The new ‘Urgent Public Health’ application process provides the ‘official badging’ to enable CRN support to be provided to these priority studies. CRN support linked to the HRA Approval application specifically includes:
  • attribution support through the completion of a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Template (SoECAT) for non-commercial priority ‘COVID-19 Urgent Public Health’ research studies
  • costing template validation for commercial studies

Supporting appropriate cost attribution and minimising duplicated commercial cost reviews are a key part of rapid set-up of these priority studies. Ongoing discussions with the HRA as part of the ‘Urgent Public Health’ application process described above will ensure there are clear communications in relation to expectations for these activities. Delivery of these activities will be reviewed in real time to enable reallocation across the CRN as necessary to provide this support in the current NHS environment.

Further information regarding expedited HRA Approval is available on the HRA website.

SoECAT Authorisation and Process

The standard processes of SoECAT completion and submission to triage remain the same during this time. Please note, that CRN CC are prioritising ‘COVID-19 Urgent Public Health’ research studies and coronavirus research studies above all, and that the CRN will not be providing SoECAT advice or AcoRD guidance and support for any non COVID-19 studies at this time.

Pause to the National Contract Value Review implementation

After consultation with the leadership within NHS England and NHS Improvement and NIHR, the governance group for the National Contract Value Review implementation met on 12 March 2020 and decided to pause this process with immediate effect. CRN CC will be issuing further information and support for companies and sites that are sent COVID-19 studies using the iCT as a costing tool. Read the full statement here to find out what the pause in implementation means and the next steps.