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Research and Innovation


Research and its evidence translated into practice, plays a vital role in enabling health and care commissioners to improve health outcomes, reduce health inequalities and secure the long term transformation and financial sustainability of the NHS.
Our ambition is that by 2020/21 NHS Commissioners will routinely consult the evidence (understanding ‘why’ things are) and design appropriate evaluation systems (understanding ‘how’ to improve). This includes using research evidence where it exists, identifying evidence gaps, influencing future research, and building capability in evaluation and research. 

Pursuing the use of evidence and evaluation will improve how we measure the impact of our work, meaning we can learn from what works well, and what doesn’t. All of this will be underpinned by strong partnerships across the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) infrastructure, with academia and national research councils to support research and evaluation.  We recognise that the evidence is not always available to support commissioners as they lead, together with clinicians, the transformation challenges for a sustainable NHS. The objective of this partnership approach is to better articulate the research needs of commissioners, ensuring better alignment of effort.

Our role is to enable the commissioning system to:

  • identify its evidence gaps;
  • define what research is needed;
  • influence research commissioned for policy and applied health care.

This is to build a virtual cycle of research into practice.

Research into practice diagram


Research Needs Panel

In 2014/15 we established an internal Research Needs Panel (RNP) to evaluate gaps in evidence that NHS England teams identified. During its first year the RNP was expanded to include Public Health England (PHE) and Health Education England (HEE) to ensure our policy research needs were aligned. In 2015/16 we are building on these foundations to include Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in order to expand the panel’s focus to include applied healthcare research, to influence the commissioned research programmes within NIHR.

For more information on the Research Needs Panel please contact the team here

Small arrow Latest Research News and Events

Click on the links below to see the latest news from the world of healthcare research.

Small arrow Research Opportunities
Click on the links below to see opportunities from the world of healthcare research.

£34m funding for Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst

Innovate UK, The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) & the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are to invest £34m in major integrated research...

Other relevant initiatives 

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Road map link

Innovation Compass link

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