UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences


Opinion: UCL Health welcomes publication of vision for the Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery

26 March 2021

Through our close partnerships with world leading hospitals, UCL Health is ideally placed to deliver impact in each of the key themes underpinning the UK Government’s vision for the Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery, says Dr Nick McNally (UCLH/UCL Joint Research Office)

Nick McNally

Saving and improving lives is central to what we set out to achieve through UCL health, bringing cutting edge science together with progressive NHS partner organisations to deliver impact for and with patients and the public.

We continue to vigorously pursue our efforts in each of the themes:  

  • Clinical research embedded in the NHS – research is highly visible at Board level in all our major NHS partner organisations and is encouraged and enabled throughout the organisational structures. Our NHS Boards take a keen interest in research performance and are attuned to identifying new research opportunities, understanding the value that research affords the NHS in terms of improved outcomes for patients and a more fulfilled workforce.
  • Patient-centred research – we have vibrant patient and public involvement and engagement programmes in our affiliated NIHR Biomedical Research Centres, working together to streamline access to and participation in research and encourage greater diversity in participation and involvement. They link in with our innovative UCL Co-Production Collective which has as its mission equal partnership to create better outcomes.
  • Streamlined, efficient and innovative research – we have very well-developed research management infrastructure in our partner NHS Trusts. Our UCLH/UCL Joint Research Office is widely regarded as one of the country’s leading JRO’s, bringing together expertise in all aspects of research management and an emphasis on robust and efficient systems. There are well established systems with specialist professional support services, such as a dedicated Translational Research Office, which enables more effective project management through the translational pathway.
  • Research enabled by data and digital tools – our NHS partners have invested heavily in electronic health records systems, including in Epic, which has been running for 2 years at both UCLH and Great Ormond Street. UCL has world leading strengths in computer science and advanced computation. Against this backdrop, significant investments over the last 5 years in data science and informatics from the UCLH BRC, has transformed digital and analytical capability in the health space. We are starting to see digital innovations feeding through from research and into patient care.
  • A sustainable and supported research workforce – academic careers are a major focus for us in UCL Health. Our BRC-supported Academic Careers Office coordinates training and support for the academic workforce. We work closely with NHS partners and the NIHR clinical research network to coordinate our critically-important delivery workforce of clinical research nurses, clinical trials practitioners and data managers.

We are fully supportive of the central tenet of the Government’s vision - for a patient-centred, pro-innovation and data-enabled clinical research environment. At UCL and our NHS partners we are excited about the opportunities to make a difference for patients in the UK and internationally under the banner of this bold vision for the UK.

Dr Nick McNally is Director of Research Support in the UCLH/UCL Joint Research Office