Intended for healthcare professionals


Best research

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 02 February 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:247
  1. Allyson M Pollock, professor and director (,
  2. Nick McNally, assistant director,
  3. Sue Kerrison, assistant director
  1. Centre for International Public Health Policy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9AG
  2. Research and Development Directorate, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London W1P 4LL

    The new UK medical research strategy helps industry, but will it improve health?

    Best Research for Best Health, the UK Department of Health's research strategy launched last week, sets a new direction for the funding and organisation of clinical research across the NHS and its associated university medical schools in England.1 The strategy's goals include making the NHS an internationally recognised centre of excellence for research and development with stronger and more streamlined governance and developing the clinical research work-force. Its two most notable features, detailed in the 16 accompanying implementation plans, are the proposal to centralise funding and the plan to control research through the establishment of a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and a new clinical research network for England.

    Described in the document as a virtual entity, NIHR will provide the central framework for four areas of management of research: governance, staff, facilities, and infrastructure. The initial budget for NIHR will comprise all the existing budget for research and development in the NHS in England, currently £680m. Crucially, it will also include the additional funding that currently supports clinical academic appointments in the NHS. Universities …

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