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Saving and improving lives: the future of UK clinical research delivery

Saving and improving lives: the future of UK clinical research delivery

23rd March 2021

Today (Tuesday 23 March) a bold and ambitious vision for the future of clinical research delivery across the UK has been published.

Scotland has worked alongside the UK nations to develop the vision, with input from NHS, regulators, medical research charities and life sciences industry. The vision sets out the ambition to create a patient-centred, pro-innovation and data-enabled clinical research environment, and empowers everyone across the health service to participate in delivering research and enables people across the country to take part in research that is of relevance to them.

Welcoming the vision Cabinet Secretary for Health Jeane Freeman said:

“Scotland is home to a vibrant and innovative research environment. Through NHS Research Scotland and the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government, world-leading research is led, supported and delivered across our NHS and universities. This has already transformed the lives of patients in Scotland, UK and around the world. The vision for clinical research we are launching today demonstrates continued commitment to build on our strengths, work collaboratively and ensure everyone can benefit from advances in healthcare.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the strength and importance of the UK’s research base. Everyone has played their part in the national research effort including researchers, healthcare professionals, those who organise and manage the research system and, above all, patients and the public.

These remarkable, collaborative efforts have enabled world-leading research into understanding risk factors for disease, therapeutics such as dexamethasone and tocilizumab, delivery of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and much more. Although great advances have been made in COVID-19 research over the last year, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the ability to deliver other important clinical research.

Professor David Crossman, Chief Scientist (Health) Scottish Government said:

“Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented, it provides important lessons for the future of research. We know high quality clinical research leads to better health outcomes for everyone and therefore restoring our diverse portfolio of research across all research phases, treatment types and conditions is vital. Just as we have worked together to make incredible scientific advances over the past year, we must build on this momentum to grow back a more resilient, adaptable and innovative research system. We have an incredibly strong research infrastructure in Scotland and through collaboration with our partners across the UK this vision presents an important opportunity to grow, adapt and improve.”

The vision is underpinned by five key themes:

  • Clinical research embedded in the NHS – to create a research-positive culture in which all health and care staff feel empowered to support and participate in clinical research as part of their job.
  • Patient-centred research – to make access and participation in research as easy as possible for everyone across the UK, including rural, diverse and under-served populations.
  • Streamlined, efficient and innovative research – so the UK is seen as the best place in the world to conduct fast, efficient and cutting-edge clinical research.
  • Research enabled by data and digital tools – to ensure the UK has the most advanced and data-enabled clinical research environment in the world, building on our unique data assets to improve health and care.
  • A sustainable and supported research workforce – which offers rewarding opportunities and exciting careers for all healthcare and research staff of all professional backgrounds - across both commercial and non-commercial research.

These aims will be achieved through several key areas for action:

These themes and areas for action are detailed in the vision document Saving and Improving Lives: The Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery.

Launch of the UK-wide vision will be followed by publications across all four nations later this year.

Join the conversation on social media using #ResearchSavesLives

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