Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust’s (MFT) contract to host the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) in Greater Manchester has been extended for a further three years.

MFT was awarded the original five-year host contract when the NIHR was first given approval to create 15 local CRNs around the country in 2014.

Local CRNs provide infrastructure as well as coordinate and support the delivery of research across the NHS in England, which is working towards increased access for patients to new and better treatments.

Following excellent performance, the Department of Health (DoH) has now renewed the NIHR CRN contract until 2022 and MFT will remain the host for CRN Greater Manchester.

Under the NIHR CRN structure, NHS research delivery has gone from strength-to-strength nationally and in Greater Manchester.

The latest figures show the number of participants recruited into clinical research studies across the region increased by almost nine per cent, from 37,416 in 2015-16, to 40,742 in 2016-17.

Dr Jonathan Sheffield OBE, Chief Executive Officer for NIHR Clinical Research Network, said:

“This extension is recognition of the excellent collective development and delivery of the NIHR Clinical Research Network over the past four years. This has been demonstrated by the continuous and measurable improvement in the effectiveness and efficiency of the network, and by the countless local and national initiatives to promote, engage and involve NHS patients, the public and other stakeholders in clinical research.”

Debbie Vinsun, Chief Operating Officer for NIHR CRN Greater Manchester, said:

“Here in Greater Manchester, the local CRN structure is delivering fantastic results thanks to the excellent working relationships we enjoy with our partner organisations. As our host, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust play a critical role in this success and, with their invaluable contribution, it will be our pleasure to continue to support the delivery of health research across Greater Manchester, East Cheshire and East Lancashire into 2022.”

Professor Bob Pearson, Joint Medical Director for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to receive a three year extension for MFT to host the CRN in Greater Manchester.

“Our local CRN supports the delivery of health research across 30 specialities within 14 local NHS Trusts and 11 Clinical Commissioning Groups.”