We support commercially-sponsored studies. We offer a bespoke service to help
industry-led studies get off the ground smoothly, quickly and efficiently, and to
help recruit the number of required participants through NHS services.
Our expertise helps commercial companies navigate the NHS and find appropriate mental health services, which are ever-changing and developing. Over the past two decades, services have moved from hospitals to a wide range of community-based
sites, including patients’ home in some cases. The complexity of the system means
it can be difficult and time-consuming to find the services and the participants needed
for a particular project, or to know where to look for case records, or to find the right NHS
staff to give permission for recruitment to take place, or to collaborate.
We work closely with around 60 NHS trusts in England that run community-based and specialist mental health services in cities and rural areas, through eight regional offices (called hubs).
Our insider knowledge of both the NHS system and the geographical areas covered by our regional offices means we can help plan, set up, and support recruitment to commercial research studies in a cost-effective manner.
All our dealings with commercial companies are strictly confidential.
Project development and expert advice
We work with university-based academics and NHS-based psychiatrists, psychologists, GPs and pharmacists who are willing to get involved in industry-sponsored research projects. Many of them are internationally recognised specialists in their field who can advise about whether a proposed study is likely to be ‘do-able’ within the NHS, and how easy it will be to find participants and collaborating investigators. Taking expert advice during the early stages of developing a project can save time and money and lead to the most effective study design.
We guarantee your study the best possible start
All the mental health research studies running in England are included on the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network Portfolio Database. There are 656 studies currently active on our portfolio.
As a result, we can advise whether there are other studies already running that may be competing for the same kind of participants as a proposed project. We can recommend where to find the appropriate services and specialist collaborators, in areas not already saturated by research studies. Our local knowledge, coupled with public health information, enables us to gauge the availability of suitable participants in those geographical areas, particularly when there are stringent inclusion and exclusion
criteria, making sure we only recommend sites where a study will succeed.
Each of our hubs has a comprehensive profile of specialist mental health services and equipment that may be needed for research – MRI and EEG machines, for example –
in their area. They also have close links with NHS-based pharmacies on their patch.
Support from our staff
We employ more than 200 staff based within our eight regional offices, including experienced and well-trained teams of clinical studies officers who are usually based within NHS trusts. The role of clinical studies officers is to promote individual projects to mental health professionals, and to help identify and recruit participants to studies we support.
Each of our regional offices also employs an information systems specialist (e-science officer) who has in-depth knowledge of local NHS or university computer systems and
can offer expert assistance.
Involving people with experience of mental
health problems and their family members
We can introduce you to people with personal experience of mental health problems
and care-givers who are willing to become involved in research projects or act as expert advisors.
People who are experts by experience offer invaluable insight – advising, for example,
about the practicalities of recruitment and follow-up, and the best way to present
information about a study. Each of our regional offices involves local people with
experience of mental health problems and their families in research projects and
running of that part of the Network. We can also put you in touch with people with
relevant experience through two coordinating centre-based networks – Service
Users in Research and FACTOR (Families/Friends Together in Research).
Liaising with other research networks
We are one of a number of clinical research networks in England that are part of the National Institute for Health Research and exist to help research teams run studies and trials within the NHS, and we can liaise with other networks on your behalf to design a tailored support package for each individual study.
The NIHR Primary Care Network, for example, helps study teams recruit through primary care services, there are Local Comprehensive Research Networks based throughout the country and another five networks offering support to research projects that focus on other health specialisms. These include one supporting studies about dementias and neurodegenerative diseases, and another supporting projects about medicines for children.
We also work very closely with sister mental health networks in Scotland and Wales, enabling us to help you set up your study almost anywhere in the UK.
At your service: a dedicated team
working with industry
Professor Anthony David is associate director of the Mental Health Research Network and lead for industry collaboration. He is a professor of cognitive neuropsychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. You can find out more about Professor David’s career and research activities on the MHRN Executive Committee page.
Kathryn Lobb is our industry liaison manager, based in our coordinating centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. She joined the MHRN in November 2009 after nearly 10 years working in drug development. She has worked for both large and small pharmaceutical companies and a major research charity.
To find out more about the support the MHRN can offer commercially-sponsored trials, email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 0207 848 0660.
page last updated 26 March 2013