One of the local networks that make up the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Comprehensive Clinical Research Network across England has turned to online blogging to spread the word about its activities to the wider research community and beyond.

The Greater Manchester Comprehensive Local Research Network (GM CLRN), which supports clinical trials in the Greater Manchester area of North West England, says it is the first NIHR Local Research Network “to use blogs to tell the wider research community and the world about the excellent work being undertaken locally by our research teams”.

The blog is open to anyone GM CLRN supports or collaborates with, who can use it to highlight their particular area of research. “Researchers, staff and well-known figures in the Greater Manchester research community have already submitted blogs about areas of work that they are passionate about,” the Network noted.

The blogs are uploaded to Greater Manchester CLRN’s website at and to the online blogging platform WordPress ( They are then promoted throughout the Greater Manchester research community.

 “As researchers, we’re always looking for ways to engage with as many people as we can,” commented Tariq Aslam, consultant specialist at Manchester Eye Hospital and GM CLRN Ophthalmology Theme lead.

“Greater Manchester CLRN’s blog is a great way of doing that. We can quickly share new ideas with a range of people who are interested in our research leading to greater collaboration and new ideas for the future.”

Gibson appointment to NIHR CCRN

Professor Martin Gibson, director of the Greater Manchester Comprehensive Local Research Network, has just been appointed associate director for industry for the NIHR Comprehensive Clinical Research Network (CCRN).

Professor Gibson will take up the role alongside his current responsibilities at GM CLRN. He will collaborate closely with the NIHR CRN Executive to support and develop the work CCRN carries out with the life sciences industry within the National Health Service and will lead on developing the Industry workstream across the NIHR CRN.

NIHR CRN chief executive Dr Jonathan Sheffield said Gibson’s “wealth of Network knowledge and experience of liaising with Industry to help deliver the objectives of the [North West] Exemplar Project will be invaluable in spreading best practice across the country”.

A Phase II report on the North West Exemplar Programme (NWEP) was released in January.

The  programme was launched by the NIHR NHS /Biopharmaceutical Industry R&D Leadership Forum, which includes senior representatives from the NHS, the biopharmaceutical industry, the Department of Health and the NIHR CRN Coordinating Centre, in the summer of 2009.

The NWEP was set up to provide evidence that the National Health Service in England is a viable environment for commercially sponsored clinical trials, one that can match the best in Europe on quality, speed, efficiency and hitting recruitment targets.