News posted 15 December, 2021

Research Van arrives

Participation in research studies is about to become easier than ever for residents across Greater Manchester thanks to the arrival of our state-of-the-art Research Van managed by MFT’s Research and Innovation (R&I).

The Research Van has been designed to deliver care and widen opportunities to be part of research in communities across Greater Manchester by visiting easy-to-reach locations such as community centres and supermarket car parks, and will be operationally managed by the MFT-hosted NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility (CRF).


The Research Van includes a pharmacy and clinical area containing all equipment necessary to run vaccine programmes, clinical trials and bespoke clinical projects out in the community, along with a patient waiting area and disabled toilet facilities.

Its pharmacy has capacity to dispense Investigational Medicinal Products (IMPs), including vaccines and gene therapies, stored at a -80°C, -20°C, 2-8°C and room temperature.

Medicines storage areas are safe, secure, and lockable, and are all temperature monitored, with space to accommodate a bio-safety cabinet.

The built-in clinical area has a fully functional outpatient clinic and includes an electrically adjustable phlebotomy couch for taking bloods and the ability to spin and store patient samples.

The purpose-built vehicle has been initially funded with a £200,000 grant from the UK government Vaccine Task Force following a successful bid from NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester (CRN GM), with further support from the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), both hosted by MFT.

Professor Andy Ustianowski, Clinical Lead for the Research Van at MFT and Deputy Clinical Director of NIHR CRN Greater Manchester, said: “We are delighted to have secured funding for this new resource which is a key part of our strategy to increase opportunities for people in all parts of our area to be part of clinical research studies.

“The Research Van is designed to make research more accessible and inclusive for residents across Greater Manchester, removing the need for people to reach a hospital or other NHS sites and instead take the studies to easy-to-reach places in their communities.

“The mobile unit will also optimise our resources in the region and provide us with a ‘one-stop’ facility that can move flexibly between different sites in Greater Manchester.”

For more information on the Research Van and how it can help you deliver your next research study please contact: