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Over 46,000 people take part in NIHR research in the North East and North Cumbria

New figures show that a total of 46,831 people took part in research supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) North East and North Cumbria in 2022/23; almost enough to fill Sunderland’s Stadium of Light. They were recruited into 885 studies across a wide range of disease areas and settings including public health and social care.

Nationally, almost one million participants (952,789) took part in health and care research supported by the NIHR CRN across England. This means that over 100 research participants in England were recruited every hour, day and night. That’s enough people to fill Wembley stadium over 10 and a half times.

Participants’ experience of taking part in research

Health and care research only takes place thanks to the nearly one million people who give their time and effort to take part. Ensuring that these participants have a good experience of taking part and feel valued for their contribution is of paramount importance. In 2022/23, a total of 32,603 research participants completed the NIHR CRN’s Participant Research Experience Survey. This is more than double the annual ambition of 14,000, and is the largest number of responders to date. Their responses are helping us learn what we can improve for the future.

Locally in the North East and North Cumbria, 3,911 people completed the Participant in Research Experience Survey. This is well over three times the number of responses that were collected the previous year. The results showed that 94% of participants felt that research staff valued them taking part in the study and 91% would consider taking part in research again.

Growth for life sciences industry

The new figures show that 32,328 participants took part in commercial studies sponsored by the life sciences industry across England, 2,571 of whom were from the North East and North Cumbria region. Locally, this means that the number of people who have taken part in commercial research has increased by around two thirds compared to the previous year.

Partnerships with the life sciences industry bring a range of benefits to the healthcare sector, giving people access to new treatments and funding for health research, while also boosting the wider economy through the development of cutting edge innovations.

Professor Caroline Wroe, Clinical Director for the NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria, said: “The statistics demonstrate achievements from the past year and recognise the critical role of the participants, the health and care staff, and life sciences industry in enabling life-changing research to take place. I am grateful to everybody in the North East and North Cumbria who has contributed their time, effort and expertise to making research possible. An enormous thank you to everybody involved.”

John Sitzia, Acting Chief Executive of the NIHR Clinical Research Network said: “Thank you to the many incredible people across England who have given their time to improve health and social care for themselves and others.

“Without their commitment, breakthroughs that will shape treatments and care could not happen. The benefits that clinical research brings are profound, ultimately leading to the prevention of ill health, earlier diagnosis, faster recovery and better outcomes.

“There are opportunities for everyone to take part in research. The new health and care research ‘match-making’ service from Be Part of Research makes it easier than ever for people to find health and care research across every part of the country.”

If you are interested in taking part in research, please visit the Be Part of Research website.