The government has tasked the University of Leeds and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust with running a new co-ordinating centre to manage the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)’s 15 local clinical research networks across the country, completing a major restructure of the system that should ultimately help get more patients participating in trials.

Currently there are nine coordinating centres jointly managing the work of the CRNs, but once the transition to the new system is complete there will just be the one, hoping to create “a simpler, more effective and wholly integrated research delivery model,” according to the Department of Health. 

Over its current five-year contract the CRN Coordinating Centre will work with an alliance of partners - including four additional research-led universities and commercial group PA Consulting - to “take the already outstanding performance of the NIHR Clinical Research Network to the next level of efficiency and impact”, said Paul Stewart, Dean of Medicine at the University of Leeds. 

“Most importantly it will further engage patients and NHS Trusts in clinical trials that we know delivers improved patient care quality and outcomes, contributes to evidence-based clinical practice and also generates economic growth”, he added, also noting that it will make the NHS in England “the ‘go-to’ place to conduct clinical research”.

The move completes the second and final stage of a major restructure of the CRN; last year phase one saw over 100 local networks streamlined into just 15.