Inside the UK’s leading efforts to restart clinical research

A herculean national effort has seen 69% of paused studies due to COVID restarted under the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) Restart Framework. Experts from the institute tell us how those numbers can be further boosted, and how lessons learned from the sector-wide collaboration will change UK research forever.

There has been a remarkable research response to COVID-19 in the UK since the earliest days of the pandemic – but early on that was also coupled with a rapid and significant reduction in clinical research activity as massive pressure on the NHS alongside a national lockdown suddenly made many trials unfeasible.

But even though, at the time of writing, many restrictions on normal life remain in place, the UK research space has seen an impressive bounce back over the last year – with the latest data from the NIHR’s Clinical Research Network (CRN) showing that 69% of both commercial and non-commercial studies that were paused have restarted, while 1,103 new studies have been added to the CRN portfolio.

This drive is being spearheaded by the NIHR’s Restart Framework, which set out guiding principles and preconditions for starting and restarting research during the pandemic.

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