A guide to finding your way around London's varied infrastructure and understanding the key sources of guidance for commercial clinical trials

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) provides the support and facilities the NHS needs for first-class research by funding a range of infrastructure facilities supporting early experimental and translational research through to late phase research in the clinical setting. This is our overview of the London organisations within that infrastructure.

Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI)
Biomedical Research Centres and Units (BRCs and BRUs)
Clinical Research Facilities (CRF)
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMCs)
Healthcare Technology Cooperatives (HTCs)
Diagnostic Evidence Cooperatives (DECs)
Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health and Care (CLAHRCs)
Patient Safety Translational Research Centres (PSTRC)
Clinical Research Network
Clinical Trials Units

NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI)

NOCRI provides a direct route for companies to access NIHR experts and facilities and can support companies to set up collaborations with one or more research centres in a streamlined and efficient way.

In early-phase clinical research, NOCRI provides connections to the country’s experimental medicine experts who can help companies understand the potential of their developmental drugs, devices and diagnostics, shortening cycle times and enabling earlier go/no go decisions

To work with the NIHR’s clinical research infrastructure, contact the NOCRI team.

NIHR Biomedical Research Centres and Units (BRCs and BRUs)

A partnership between England’s leading NHS organisations and universities to conduct translational research to turn scientific breakthroughs into life-saving treatments for patients.

Staffed by expert investigators and clinicals, BRCs conduct research across a range of disease and therapeutic themes, while BRUs focus on specific priority therapeutic areas.

London’s BRCs and BRUs are:

NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ BRC
NIHR Imperial BRC
NIHR University College London Hospitals BRC
NIHR Great Ormond Street BRC (paediatric)
NIHR Royal Marsden BRC (cancer)
NIHR Maudsley BRC (mental health)
NIHR Moorfields BRC (eye disease)
NIHR Barts Cardiovascular BRU
NIHR Royal Brompton Cardiovascular BRU
NIHR Maudsley Dementia BRU
NIHR Queen’s Square Dementia BRU
NIHR Royal Brompton Respiratory BRU

NIHR Clinical Research Facilities (CRF)

Purpose built facilities with specialist clinical and support staff for experimental medicine studies. Companies can get support throughout the process, from study design to data collection and management. CRFs are designed to support high-intensity studies and overnight stays.

London’s CRF’s include:

NIHR/ Guy’s & St Thomas’ CRF
NIHR/Wellcome Trust Imperial CRF
NIHR/ Moorfields CRF
NIHR/ Royal Marsden CRF
NIHR/Wellcome Trust King’s CRF
NIHR/Wellcome Trust UCL CRF
NIHR/Great Ormond Street Somers CRF

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMCs)

Funded in partnership between Cancer Research UK and the NIHR, ECMCs work closely with industry partners to play a leading role in speeding up cancer drug discovery and the search for cancer biomarkers through the design and execution of early phase trials.

London’s ECMCs are:

Barts and Brighton
Imperial College London
Kings Health Partners
• Institute of Cancer Research
University College London

NIHR Healthcare Technology Cooperatives (HTCs)

Centres of expertise that work collaboratively with industry to develop new medical devices and technologies HTCs focus on clinical areas and/or themes of high morbidity which have high potential for improving quality of life and improving the effectiveness of healthcare services.

London HTCs include:

NIHR Enteric HTC
NIHR Cardiovascular HTC

NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Cooperatives (DECs)

Bringing together experts from the NHS and industry to catalyse the generation of evidence on commercially available in vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs), the NIHR DECs generate high quality evidence of clinical validity, clinical utility, cost-effectiveness and care pathway benefits of commercially-supplied in IVDs.

In London, the NIHR DEC London specialises in the evaluation of point of care diagnostic devices.

NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health and Care (CLAHRCs)

Conducting applied health research which is relevant across the NHS, and translating research findings into improved outcomes for patients. A particular focus for the CLAHRCs is research targeted at chronic diseases and public health interventions.

London CLAHRCs include:

NIHR CLAHRC North Thames
NIHR CLAHRC Northwest London
NIHR CLAHRC South London

NIHR Patient Safety Translational Research Centres (PSTRC)

Working to pull advances in basic research with potential relevance to patient safety into an applied research setting. The centres undertake research to drive forward improvements in patient safety and safety. This research has the potential to translate into real benefits for patients, such as reducing prescription errors, improving diagnosis of cancer and rare diseases and reducing accidents during surgery.

London PSTRCs include:

NIHR Imperial PSTRC
The NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI)

NIHR Clinical Research Network

London is served by three NIHR Local Clinical Research Networks – North Thames, South London and North West London. Their role is to work closely with the NHS Trusts within their geography to help companies find suitable research sites, support in set up including gaining NHS permissions, delivery as well as partner with companies and sites in managing study performance.

Find out more.

Clinical Trials Units

London’s Clinical Research Collaboration (CRC) Registered Academic CTUs are linked to London’s major universities – Kings College College, Imperial College London, University College London and Queen Mary University of London.

Find a registered CTU here.

Imperial Clinical Trials Unit (ICTU)

ICTU has experience in co-ordination and delivery of multicenter studies for both academic and commercial Sponsors. It conducts Phase I-IV studies across a broad range therapy areas. ICTU collaborates with its investigator network in primary and secondary care to support commercial sponsors on the design (guidance on protocol design and statistical analysis), execution (site selection, set up and management, electronic data capture and monitoring) and communication (through publications and medical education) of commercial studies conducted in London, the UK and internationally.

Further information for Commercial Sponsors on working with ICTU can be found at imperialclinicaltrialsunit.org

Academic organisations interested in collaborations with ICTU should visit imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/clinical-trials-unit