We make research happen by providing funding, training and other support to local qualified NHS providers (such as local hospitals and GP surgeries) so that they are able to improve healthcare by running clinical research studies. For example, during 2018/19 our budget fully or part-funded more than 500 staff, including research nurses who are able to offer patients in NHS hospitals the opportunity to take part in a research study. We also offer a comprehensive training programme for NHS professionals who want to get involved with clinical research.
The local clinical research network is hosted by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and is closely aligned with other clinical research organisations in the area and we're well-connected throughout the region and work closely with all local hospital trusts, as well as GP surgeries, Clinical Commissioning Groups and other NHS organisations.
Each year, the LCRN team engages with stakeholders as part of its planning activities to gather information on study details including current numbers of NIHR CRN portfolio studies and anticipated studies. The LCRN undertakes a detailed analytical review of activities within each NHS trust/setting which takes into account a number of metrics including study numbers, weighted and un-weighted recruitment (including known PIC activity and studies where recruitment numbers are not logged). Consideration is also given to other factors including levels of study complexity, anticipated current timescales, plans/potential for growth and national/regional priorities. Proposed allocations are then reviewed by the LCRN Executive Group and Partnership Group and finalised with each trust once the LCRN’s annual funding allocation for the following year is confirmed by the CRN co-ordinating centre.
Dr Belinda Lennox
Belinda is Senior Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry and honorary consultant psychiatrist at Oxford Health. She is also Deputy Director of the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for Oxford and Clinical Lead of the Early Intervention in Mental Health Clinical Network at the Oxford Academic Health Science Network (AHSN).
Dr Andrew Protheroe
Andrew is a Consultant Medical Oncologist and Associate Professor within the University of Oxford Department of Oncology at the Oxford Cancer and Haematology Centre. He has specialised in Urological Oncology at Oxford since 2001, and has run multiple clinical studies in urological cancer. He was previously the National Cancer Research Network Clinical Lead for the Thames Valley. He is currently a member of the testicular cancer National Cancer Research Institute Clinical Studies Group.
Chief Operating Officer
Val Woods was appointed as Chief Operating Officer in April 2014, and is responsible for the leadership and oversight of the work of the Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands. She was Senior Manager of the Thames Valley Comprehensive Local Research Network from 2009-2014. Val is a Chartered Accountant and became involved with the NHS through her appointment as Non-executive Director of the inaugural Board of South Central Ambulance Service and Chair of the Audit Committee.
Through building stronger research networks the LCRN has overseen an increase in research activity in Thames Valley of 614 studies involving 41,691 participants in its first year, 2014/15, to 779 studies involving 63,649 participants in 2018/19. Notable performance in the 2018/19 NIHR research activity league table included Oxford University Hospitals NHS Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust being ranked second for the most studies and participants for hospital trusts and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust being ranked fourth among mental health trusts in those categories.
In 2016, one of our portfolio studies made international headlines. Rhian Lewis, who has retinitis pigmentosa (a type of gradual sight loss) received a retinal implant and was able to read the time for the first time in more than 5 years. Doctors had inserted a tiny retinal implant chip into the back of her eye, which replaced damaged light sensitive cells (called photoreceptors). The device implant is connected to a tiny computer that sits underneath the skin behind her ear.
The "bionic eye" has been tested in Oxford as a treatment for the condition since 2012, and may one day be available for use on the NHS.
We made the delivery of this research study possible by funding several research nurse posts at the Oxford Eye Hospital, which offers patients the opportunity to take part in this and many other studies. The research was funded by the NIHR Health Research Invention for Innovation programme in partnership with Retina Implant AG and the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.
The NIHR Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands covers the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. All six hospital trusts in our region are research active, as well as many GP surgeries, which are members of our local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). Our free support and services will give you access to the NHS infrastructure throughout the region. We deliver research across 30 clinical specialities, covering the full breadth of clinical research therapy areas.
In addition to hospitals and local GP surgeries, we work very closely with local universities as well as other research organisations. These include:
A collaborative partnership of Oxford-based organisations covering health and social care, commissioning and service delivery, research, education and training. Tel: 01865 901000
The Oxford AHSN is funded by NHS England and brings together universities, industry and the NHS to improve the health and prosperity in our region through rapid clinical innovation adoption.
Biomedical Research Centres are part of the Government’s initiative to improve the translation of basic scientific developments into clinical benefits for patients and to reinforce the position of the UK as a global leader in healthcare related research. The OxBRC is a partnership that brings together the research expertise of the University of Oxford and the clinical skills of staff of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with the aim of supporting translational research and innovation to improve healthcare for patients.
The NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre is a partnership between Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford. It aims to bring the best science to the complex problems of mental disorders and dementia. It is co-located with clinical facilities on Oxford’s Warneford Hospital site.This central hub is the heart of a network which reaches out to world-class facilities within walking distance, such as the new Big Data Institute, deeper into Oxford, such as the Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, and beyond to global collaborators through StemBANCC and The Structural Genomics Consortium.
The NIHR CLAHRC Oxford carries out groundbreaking applied health research that will have a direct impact on patient health and well-being. It's a partnership between universities, healthcare commissioners and healthcare providers in the region of Oxford and the Thames Valley, hosted by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.
The RDS offers advice on all aspects of formulating a research proposal, including methodology, statistics, health economics and support for Patient and Public Involvement in research.