Manchester strengthens experimental medicine infrastructure with award of new UK Clinical Research Facility Network contract

A bid led by Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) was successful in winning the contract to host the UK Clinical Research Facility (UKCRF) Network for a period of five years.

The award, announced by Dr Louise Wood, Director of Science, Research and Evidence Directorate, Department of Health, at the recent UKCRF Network Conference in Glasgow, will provide funding for CMFT to host the UKCRF Network under the management of Helen Pidd, NIHR Manchester CRF Manager, until 2022. The collaborative bid was led by CMFT in collaboration with CRFs at Cambridge, Birmingham and Southampton.

CRFs are dedicated purpose-built clinical facilities that enable early translational commercial and non-commercial research studies to be carried out. The UKCRF Network develops and supports operational collaboration across UK CRFs for early translational (experimental medicine) research, including supporting commercial research and attracting industry engagement.

It facilitates the sharing of best practice and drives efficiencies in all aspects of CRF operational management, such as workforce development, safety and emergency planning, quality assurance and patient and public involvement.

CMFT has hosted the UKCRF Network since 2008 and illustrated a strong track record as host, particularly in the area of strategic partnership working with NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI) and other CRFs to support and deliver collaborations across England and the UK.

Helen Pidd, UKCRF Network Director said:

I am delighted that CMFT has been chosen to host the UKCRF Network for five years. The bid was a collaborative effort, involving input from a number of CRFs across the UK, and is a testament to the collaborative nature of the Network. The funding will allow us to deliver our ambitious plans to support the delivery of experimental medicine across the UK.

Over the next five years the UKCRF Network will continue to facilitate effective collaborative working, to share and develop best practice in CRF Operations to enhance and harmonize the delivery of experimental medicine and wider objectives of the NIHR. Focusing on four key objectives:

  • supporting CRFs to deliver experimental medicine studies;
  • facilitating coordination and accelerated delivery of trials through CRFs;
  • developing and sharing best practice/tools for staff education, training and development;
  • delivering collaborative and coordinated public involvement, engagement and participation activities to show case experimental medicine.

The UKCRF Network works with the NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI), the ECMC Programme Office for the Cancer Research UK/UK Health Departments Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMCs), the NIHR Clinical Research Network, Chief Scientist Office, NHS Research Scotland and Ireland’s Health and Social Care Research and Development Division to present and deliver experimental medicine research offer for non-commercial and commercial research.