Leeds recognised for outstanding research track record

The University has been chosen by the government to take a leading role in the co-ordination of health research across England.

Professor Mark Kearney, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health

Professor Mark Kearney, wearing a blue suit, standing in front of plants in the sustainability garden, behind which is the concrete of the Worsley Building.

After a competitive tender, Leeds was selected by the Department of Health and Social Care to lead the NIHR Research Delivery Network Coordinating Centre, a five-year contract beginning on 1 April 2024.  

Professor Mark Kearney, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health, said: "We are delighted to host the coordinating centre for the new NIHR Research Delivery Network.  

“UK health and care research is already recognised as being world leading. The University of Leeds, as part of the Research Delivery Network, is poised and eager to work with the health and care system to make a step change in how we deliver this research.  

"We will harness the talent of our NHS staff and generosity of the population to progress new ways of working to support the delivery of research to achieve our ambitions to improve the health and wealth all our communities." 

The new coordinating centre will be based in Leeds and employ more than 270 people. It will work across England’s health and care system, with staff in all settings, to support the effective and efficient initiation and delivery of research. 

Additionally, it will be responsible for the knowledge and skill development of the whole health research and development workforce, which will help to address health and economic inequalities across the Leeds city region and nationally.  

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, said: “Here at the University of Leeds we pride ourselves on our dynamic research portfolio that works to improve health and well-being by undertaking excellent biomedical, translational, and applied health and care research and innovation. 

“Our successful tender for this highly competitive government contract is further recognition of our outstanding track record in health and care research, and allows us to build on the work of our brilliant colleagues across the Clinical Research Network over the last nine years." 

The Centre will be joined by 12 new Regional Research Delivery Networks, hosted by NHS organisations the length and breadth of the country. These contracts will commence on 1 October 2024. 

Together, they will form the NIHR Research Delivery Network, which will operate as one organisation across England, balancing regional context, expertise and leadership with national co-ordination and strategy involving government policymakers. 

While the Research Delivery Network is new and responds to the needs of the health and care research system of the present day, it will build on the notable successes of the NIHR Clinical Research Network, which the University has co-run with Guys and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust since 2014.  

Leeds has run forerunners of the Research Delivery Network since 2005. The Clinical Research Network supported a transformation in the strength of England’s research delivery system, promoted the successful delivery of studies and underpinned the dramatic expansion of health research participation. 

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