Consultation on changes to Scottish clinical research networks

Posted on July 22, 2013 by


The Scottish Chief Scientist Office is inviting comments on the proposed new structure for clinical research networks. The new structure will mirror that announced for the English National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) with 12 NIHR CRN Theme Directors,  to allow better cross-border working and make it easier for researchers to carry out trials with sites in Scotland and England.


Clinical research in Scotland is managed across four NHS Research Scotland regions, with seven Networks in Cancer, Children, Dementia, Diabetes, Mental Health, Primary Care and Stroke and 24 Specialty groups.  The announcement of a reorganisation of the English NIHR CRN provides a timely opportunity to review the position in Scotland.

In Scotland, funds for supporting research have remained with the individual NHS Tusts, although the Health Boards and NHS R&D Directors have been working to ensure that research funds are freed up and available to support clinical  studies

The consultation

The proposed new structure will  link the CSO research funds awarded to institutions more closely with those undertaking that activity, and to ensure there is an effective dialogue between the R&D Offices responsible for providing the research support services and those researchers using them.

The CSO is seeking views on:

  • Structures – are the networks, specialty groups and themes the most appropriate system to support research?
  • Funding – could research activity and funding be better aligned?
  • Leadership & Delivery – would appointing “local theme leads” be a better way to manage research across Scotland?

For further background and a full list of the questions see the consultation document.

What next?

The consultation closes on 23 August and CSO plans to have the new structures in place by 1 April 2014. This is an ambitious timescale but the CSO believes it to be achievable with the support of the research community.  The publication of this consultation document is the first step in a process of on-going dialogue to ensure Scotland remains a leader in attracting, and delivering, clinical research.

To respond to the consultation , please contact by 23 August 2013

Posted in: Research