The evolution of clinical research: Embracing new delivery models in the UK

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evolution of clinical research in the UK

The UK is welcoming a new era of clinical trial delivery, evolving beyond the traditional site-centric approach to also embrace remote, decentralised, virtual, and hybrid trials and enabling participants to choose how and where they take part in activities associated with a study.

Delivering research in these settings means accessing large, diverse, and often underserved patient populations, resulting in better real-world evidence and a more representative research population.

To help researchers embrace new delivery models, the NIHR is transforming how it supports research delivery in the UK by developing new, flexible ways of working and adaptable models for deploying research delivery support. The goal? To enable equal opportunities and increase accessibility by taking research to the people.

NIHR Direct Delivery Teams are not tied to a specific site or therapeutic area. Instead, the research workforce responds to local research delivery needs as they emerge. These agile teams comprise highly skilled, experienced, and forward-thinking professionals committed to innovating and path-finding non-traditional research delivery approaches that span organisations, care settings, medical specialties, and even geographies.

At 15:00 GMT / 16:00 CET / 10:00 EST on Wednesday 20th March join the NIHR as it brings together four representatives from NIHR Direct Delivery teams across the UK to discuss the changing landscape of trial delivery. They will draw upon real-life examples, highlighting opportunities to achieve more accessible research for participants and real-world evidence.

Register now to be part of the conversation shaping the next era of clinical research.

About the panel

Jo HenryJo Henry, Matron - NIHR Clinical Research Network: Greater Manchester

Jo Henry is a Children and Young People’s Nurse by background, but has worked in research delivery for the last five years within the Clinical Research Network (CRN). Her research experience includes both non-commercial and commercial delivery, across a variety of specialities and settings, including NHS and non-NHS. She now leads an incredible team of both clinical and non-clinical staff, taking research out into the community and finding novel ways to increase inclusion and diversity in research. Henry is the ENRICH lead (Enabling Research in Care Homes) for Greater Manchester and is focused on building our regional social care research capacity and capability. She is also Co-Chair of the national CRN Direct Delivery Team Leadership Group, driving forwards transformation of research delivery in the UK.

Jamie CalderwoodJamie Calderwood, Lead nurse for the Agile and direct delivery teams
Jamie Calderwood has been a nurse for 15 years, working in a variety of settings, from Medical Assessment Units to Surgical Admissions and Neuro ICU, before starting as a Research Nurse in Infectious Diseases in 2011. In 2014, Calderwood was appointed as the Senior Research Nurse for the Infectious Diseases team at Leeds Teaching Hospital. Since that position, he moved into various leadership roles, alongside facilitating Good Clinical Practice training and actively delivering research. In 2020, Calderwood was asked to lead a COVID-19 research team and was appointed to a Lead Nurse role, covering both inpatient research and vaccination trials. These were conducted in non-hospital environments. Calderwood started as the ART Lead Nurse in March 2022, a natural follow-on to his COVID work. Passionate about leadership and research, he wants to make research really accessible to participants, engage with communities, work with community partners to shape future research, and contribute to improving the region's health, as well.

Kirsty GladasKirsty Gladas, senior research nurse manager, LCRN Wessex
Gladas has over 19 years working in nursing with an acute care background in ICU, respiratory, and surgical nursing. She has been critical in research delivery in the Wessex region in her previous roles as research nurse, senior research sister and lead educator for research at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Gladas’ dedication to research in Wessex continues as she now provides key leadership and management for the CRN Wessex Clinical Delivery Team (CDT), which supports four specially designed research hubs located in Southampton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, and Weymouth. Her role actively supports delivering research with local communities and settings, promoting research for all through the addition of two new Wessex research buses in 2024.

Thanuja Weerasinghe

Thanuja Weerasinghe, Lead Research Nurse, Kent, Surrey & Sussex Clinical Research Network
In my role as the Lead Research Nurse for the Kent, Surrey, and Sussex Clinical Research Network, I have the pleasure of working on a transformative shift in research delivery in wider healthcare setting. With my dedicated team, we have rapidly expanded research activity in our region, transcending the traditional boundaries of hospital settings. I am passionate about breaking down barriers to research participation, advocating for its accessibility to individuals across diverse wider healthcare settings.

Our collective efforts have not only resulted in a numerical surge in research initiatives but have fundamentally altering the perception of research in our community. I am committed to promoting inclusivity and ensuring that research becomes an accessible pathway for all, regardless of their healthcare context. Our focus on engaging with a wide spectrum of communities reflects our dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion in research.

By championing this mindset shift, we are actively contributing to the democratisation of research, making it a tangible and meaningful option for a broader population. I take pride in the fact that our increased research activity is not just a statistical achievement but represents a commitment to offering meaningful research opportunities to the wider population. Together, we are redefining the landscape of clinical research and ensuring its benefits reach every corner of our community.

eloiseEloise McLennan, Deep Dive editor (moderator)
Eloise McLennan is the editor for pharmaphorum’s Deep Dive magazine. She has been a journalist and editor in the healthcare field for more than five years and has worked at several leading publications in the UK.

More panellists are coming soon.

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