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Information on organisations that can help with your research application

Academic Health Science Networks

Academic Health Science Networks are partnership bodies that bring together all partners across a regional health economy to improve the health of local communities. 

There are 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England, established by NHS England in 2013 to spread innovation at pace and scale – improving health and generating economic growth. Each AHSN works across a distinct geography serving a different population in each region.

The AHSNs are:

Each AHSN works within its own area to develop projects, programmes and initiatives that reflect the diversity of our local populations and healthcare challenges. However, we all share the following priorities:

  • Promoting economic growth: fostering opportunities for industry to work effectively with the NHS
  • Spreading innovation at pace and scale: creating the right environment, and supporting collaboration across boundaries
  • Improving patient safety: using knowledge, expertise and networks to bring together patients, healthcare staff and partners to determine priorities and develop and implement solutions
  • Optimising medicine use: ensuring that medication is used to its maximum benefit – improving safety and making efficient use of NHS resources
  • Improving quality and reducing variation: by spreading best practice we increase productivity and reduce variation, thereby improving patient outcomes
  • Putting research into practice: our strong links with academia mean we are uniquely placed to support the translation of research into clinical practice
  • Collaborating on national programmes.

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Wessex

NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local populations and local health and care systems.

The NIHR ARC Wessex is one of 15 ARCs across England, part of a £135 million investment by the NIHR to improve the health and care of patients and the public. 

NIHR Biomedical Research Centres

The NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre takes new discoveries, treatments and technologies into the clinic, using unique tools, facilities and world-changing expertise across our six key research areas.

We aim to improve people's health and resilience throughout life, generating the next generation of improved and individually personalised treatments.

The Centre aims to improve health and resilience throughout life by developing better, individually personalised treatments and care.

 We drive innovation through world-class research to understand what influences resilience, and how. We translate our discoveries into real-world use by:

  •    Working with the best minds, bringing together many disciplines
    •    Collaborating regionally, nationally and globally, with patients, public, academics and industry
    •    Developing guidelines and policies that benefit patients, public and the health and care system

Our strategy is centred on collaboration; collaboration between our research themes, with our local communities, with clinical and academic colleagues, and across the NIHR, industry and NHS.

Clinical Research Network

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) supports patients, the public and health and care organisations across England to participate in high-quality research, thereby advancing knowledge and improving care. The CRN is comprised of 15 Local Clinical Research Networks and 30 Specialties who coordinate and support the delivery of high-quality research both by geography and therapy area. National leadership and coordination is provided through the CRN Coordinating Centre.

The CRN enables high-quality health and care research in England by meeting the costs of additional staff, facilities, equipment and support services so that research is not subsidised with funding that has been provided for health and care treatments and service. The CRN also provides a vast range of national and local resources and activities designed to support health and care organisations, staff, patients and service users to be research active. These include specialist training, information systems to manage and report research, patient and public involvement opportunities and engagement initiatives, and communications expertise.

The Clinical Research Networks are:

  1. North East and North Cumbria
  2. North West Coast
  3. Yorkshire and Humber
  4. Greater Manchester
  5. East Midlands
  6. West Midlands
  7. West of England
  8. Thames Valley and South Midlands
  9. East of England
  10. Kent, Surrey and Sussex
  11. Wessex
  12. South West Peninsula
  13. North Thames
  14. South London
  15. North West London

Clinical Trials Units

Clinical Trials Units (CTUs) are specialist units which have been set up with a specific remit to design, conduct, analyse and publish clinical trials and other well-designed studies. They have the capability to provide specialist expert statistical, epidemiological and other methodological advice and coordination to undertake successful clinical trials. In addition, most CTUs will have expertise in the coordination of trials involving investigational medicinal products which must be conducted in compliance with the UK Regulations.

Users can search for individual CTUs or by the following criteria (amongst others):

  • Geographical region
  • Disease research areas
  • Methodological research areas
  • Specific types of clinical research study
  • Experience of working with clinical research funders 

Council for Allied Health Professions Research

The Council for Allied Health Professions Research launched in November 2014.  It was formed from the Research Forum for Allied Health and the Allied Health Professions Research Network. 

The Council's mission is to develop AHP research, strengthen evidence of the professions’ value and impact for enhancing service user and community care, and enable the professions to speak with one voice on research issues, thereby raising their profile and increasing their influence.

CAHPR consists of regional hubs that run a range of activities such as events, local networking, small award schemes and mentoring. 

Health Research Authority

The core purpose of the Health Research Authority is to protect and promote the interests of patients and the public in health and social care research.

They achieve this by:

There are more than 80 NHS Research Ethics Committees (RECs) across the UK, which exist to safeguard the rights, safety, dignity and well-being of research participants. 

RECs consist of up to 15 members, a third of whom are 'lay' - their main professional interest is not in a research area, nor are they a registered healthcare professional. 

RECs review research proposals and give an opinion about whether the research is ethical. They also look at issues such as the participant involvement in the research. The committees are entirely independent of research sponsors (the organisations responsible for the management and conduct of the research), funders and the researchers themselves. This enables them to put participants at the centre of their review.  

Research Design Service

The Research Design Service (RDS) provides free and confidential advice on research design, writing funding applications and public involvement, to health and social care researchers across England.  RDS advisers have a wealth of experience and proven track records in supporting high quality funding applications. 

The RDS supports applications to other open, national, peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research, including research charities.

To make the best use of the RDS, contact your regional service at an early stage to discuss your research ideas.

The Research Design Service can help by:

  • identifying suitable funders for your research
  • identifying possible gaps in your research team and suggest collaborators
  • recommending appropriate methods and designs
  • advising on and supporting public involvement in your research
  • helping you to demonstrate the potential value and impact of your research
  • reviewing drafts of your application and suggest improvements

Research & Development

The University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) vision for research is to work with their partners at the leading edge of healthcare, realising the research potential in all areas of our hospital for the benefit of patients and staff.

Their aspiration is that every clinical area will be engaged in high quality research and every patient and member of staff should have the opportunity to be part of a research study.

The UHS mission is to embed research in all clinical services and in doing so achieve an international reputation for being a research-led University Hospital.

UHS research is a partnership with the University of Southampton.

If you are outside Southampton, the UK R&D Contacts directory is a valuable tool that provides the contact details of all R&D offices and non-commercial sponsors across the UK.

Research & Innovation Services

Research and Innovation Services (RIS) is a dynamic department at the heart of University activity and the central point for enterprise and research activities.

They assist and facilitate academic collaborations, industrial interactions and knowledge transfer; and provide support to academics on research funding streams, preparing bid proposals and negotiating research contracts. They can also help with increasing the research impact through collaboration, knowledge transfer activities and commercialisation of Intellectual Property (IP).

The Research and Innovation Services team can help and support researchers across a number of areas:

  • Promoting funding opportunities, pre-award and bid management support, facilitating research projects, contract management and support in ethical approval
  • Reviewing, issuing and negotiating contracts
  • Offer support in bidding for European funding
  • The Technology Transfer Managers help researchers navigate the complex commercialisation process
  • They have a long established record of generating and managing Intellectual Property (IP) with a portfolio of active patent families
  • They work with researchers to navigate regulations and advise on good practice to maintain and improve the integrity of research activities
  • They host and support externally funded research fellowships, and nurturing fellows to the next stage in their academic and research career.

Southampton Academy of Research

The Southampton Academy of Research supports health professionals and scientists in Southampton to explore and pursue a career that incorporates health-related research. 

They provide a focal point for career development and training for those who aspire to, or already work in, biomedical and applied health research, working closely with the University of Southampton's Faculty of Medicine and School of Health Sciences.

​The team will guide you through your options in research, and signpost to people who can offer advice or be a mentor. They also highlight events, funding and training opportunities for people at every stage of their career.

Southampton Health Technology Assessment Centre (SHTAC)

SHTAC is part of the School of Healthcare Enterprise & Innovation, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton. The Centre is involved in research addressing major policy questions on the use of drugs, devices, procedures, screening programmes, health promotion and public health and other interventions.

The team work closely with clinicians, academics, service providers and patient representatives in developing high priority research questions, and their research has covered a variety of areas in health, including mental health, obesity, cancer, heart disease, asthma, hepatitis and sexual health.

Wessex Reach

The Wessex REACH initiative is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and enables healthcare professionals to take research ideas from concept to reality.   They reach out across Wessex to support researchers from all backgrounds and with any level of experience.