Innovation and research

The scale of transformation necessary to deliver the ambition outlined within our Long Term Plan is a considerable challenge that will require widespread innovation, enhanced use of technology and a commitment to research. Our existing partnerships, our relationships with local academic organisations and our committed workforce mean that we are uniquely placed to be a test bed for innovation and research.

We strive to promote and support various quality improvement programmes across north east London. We also recognise that by participating and promoting research we assist towards improving and developing the services that we commission.

Research and innovation hold the key to delivering continuing sustainable improvements within the NHS. We aim to promote and assist with healthcare research as much as possible. This research can be varied. It might be part of a national research study testing a new drug or technology, a service evaluation to help review services, or a pilot to test innovative treatments.

Key strategic priorities

Our key strategic priorities on research and innovation include: 

  • Increasing the number of people participating in research
  • Meeting excess treatment costs by working in collaboration with the Local Clinical Research Networks (LCRN) and NHS England
  • Increasing the number of health and care professionals engaging in research
  • Tailoring research to local priorities
  • Contributing to creating a learning NHS environment that fosters evidence-based practice and innovation

How you can get involved

There are many ways to get involved in research. It could be as a participant in a study, or as a research partner helping to shape and deliver the research.

Help us generate research ideas to influence research locally

The relevance and applicability of research findings and guidelines to front-line health care delivery is highly variable. Input from patients and those working on the front-line can help close the gap between evidence, clinical practice and service delivery. That’s why we are asking you – as service users, service providers, front line clinicians, managers and commissioners- to make your voice heard on what is important to you when it comes to setting the direction of research.  

Help us to generate the right questions and influence the research that is happening in north east London by completing the short questionnaire below.

Your answers will remain anonymous and will inform our research priorities –

Influencing research at national level

If you would like to influence research at national level, please visit the INVOLVE website – part of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) which specialises in supporting greater public involvement in research.

Taking part or getting involved in research as a member of the public

Participation in research is where someone takes part in a research study, for example, being asked questions about their health condition or testing a new treatment in a clinical trial. People may be asked to consider joining a study by their GP or come across an advertisement to join a trial on a noticeboard or in a newspaper.

If you would like further information on how you can take part in a research study, please visit the NIHR website.

The Be Part of Research webpage has information about clinical trials and other research from several different UK registers. You can search the Be Part of Research site to find trials relevant to you, and you can contact researchers yourself.

Getting involved in research as a healthcare professional

If you are interested in getting involved in local research as a healthcare professional you can find information on training, funding and awards at our local research network, NIHR Clinical Research Network North Thames.

Information for researchers

We strive to promote and support research and quality improvement programmes. We also recognise that by participating in and promoting research we assist towards improving and developing the services that we commission.

While not a research organisation, we recognise the key role that research plays in advancing the highest quality of care for patients.

Through our Supporting Research Programme, we aspire to attract, support and facilitate relevant research which can help us to:

  • Address the needs of our diverse communities
  • Reduce health inequalities
  • Promote a healthy start in life
  • Tailor care to the needs of our patients and users
  • Commission and provide integrated, effective and financially sustainable health and care services

We want to support and facilitate research and encourage the dissemination of research findings across our communities. We collaborate with researchers drawing upon our networks of providers and patients, involving health and care professionals, and working closely with our local academic partners and NIHR Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN).

It is important to remember that if we support projects, this does not mean we endorse it and researchers do not have permission to use our logo.

We do provide letters of support for funding bids, and we expect that researchers would include any costs for activities linked to that project in the budget that is submitted with the bid.

We would expect researchers to share their research findings with us and to publish their main study findings in a peer-reviewed journal.

Research outputs should appropriately acknowledge our support.

If you are interested in submitting an application for project support, please complete this form and email it to

The completed form will be reviewed by our Supporting Research Decision group and we will aim to respond to you within two weeks of receiving your application. Please ensure you complete the form as fully as possible to avoid delays.

Excess Treatment Costs

Some research studies will generate Excess Treatment Costs (ETCs). The definition of the various costs associated with research are outlined in the Department of Health guidance: Attributing the costs of health and social care research

ETCs incurred by research studies can be defined as the difference between the cost of standard treatment and the cost of the treatment that will be tested via research. This includes costs that would be incurred if the treatment continued after the research activity has stopped and staff training costs in order to deliver the intervention. This does not include training costs for research methods, such as case reporting. Occasionally the new treatment may be cheaper, in which case there will be a saving in treatment costs.

Applying for ETCs

The National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) and its local networks manage the ETC budget on behalf of CCGs. This took effect on 1 October 2018. All new funding applications to the CRN are required to complete a Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool which is validated by the CRN AcoRD specialists. A schedule of events is required as part of Health Research Authority (HRA) approval to outline study activities and the associated attribution under AcoRD principles. The single point of access for processing the ETC requests is via the NIHR Study Support Service mailbox at:

Key points of the new process for ETCs

Costing is completed using a standard costing methodology (the Schedule of Events Cost Attribution Tool). High cost Excess Treatment Costs will be assessed by a panel at project funding stage. The CRN will transfer your costing and recruitment information into the Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS). This will calculate ETCs for provider organisations and will be paid when the minimum threshold is reached.

Commissioner support

We recommend you identify every relevant commissioner you require a ETC budget from for the study. If you require Public Health investment, please ensure you contact them as early as possible. Commissioners are unable to budget for ‘unknown’ research projects and can struggle to meet their ETC requests and other commitments.

To get in touch with someone about research and innovation in north east London contact:

UPDATED: 19/02/2021