The Ophthalmology Specialty Group and the National Institute for Health Research: the first 6 years


In 2006, the Department of Health set up the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to create a world-class health research system within the National Health Service (NHS).1 Current (2012/13) government funding for the NIHR stands at d285 million. Central to this is the NIHR Clinical Research Network, which consists of a national coordinating centre, six topic-specific research networks (cancer, stroke, dementia, diabetes, mental health, and medicines for children), a primary-care research network and a comprehensive clinical research network (CCRN) to cover all other areas of clinical need, including Ophthalmology ( specialty). The CRN is responsible for a database known as the NIHR CRN portfolio (http:// portfolio), a collection of high-quality clinical studies, many of which are randomised controlled trials. Only studies included, termed ‘adopted’, in this database have access to infrastructure and NHS service support costs. Studies are automatically eligible for inclusion on the national portfolio if they are funded by NIHR, other areas of government, or NIHR noncommercial partners. These non-commercial partners are organisations that (i) award funds as a result of open national competition with high-quality peer review, (ii) fund research that is of clear benefit to the NHS, and (iii) have a strategic direction for the research they fund that takes into account Department of Health and NHS priorities and needs. Other studies require formal consideration to be adopted onto the national portfolio and include (i) studies that are industry supported and sponsored, (ii) studies that are industry supported but not sponsored (investigator-led collaborations), and (iii) studies funded by overseas agencies (eg National Institutes of Health or European Union Framework Programmes). The CRN has set several high-level objectives ( performance_objectives), which act as a management mechanism to drive forward performance by setting defined and agreed criteria for gauging improvement over time. These objectives are focused on delivery outcomes with specific objectives for 2010–2015 that include:

DOI: 10.1038/eye.2013.22

Cite this paper

@article{Bourne2013TheOS, title={The Ophthalmology Specialty Group and the National Institute for Health Research: the first 6 years}, author={Richard James Bourne and Rodney Gale}, journal={Eye}, year={2013}, volume={27}, pages={457-460} }