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NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio

At the heart of the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) activities is the NIHR CRN Portfolio of studies. This consists of high-quality clinical research studies that are eligible for consideration for support from the CRN in England. Adoption onto the portfolio has a number of benefits for researchers, such as help in identifying potential research sites, access to patients and the public to carry out ‘PPI‘ and advice on recruitment strategy at any point during the study. The CRN offers support to researchers via their Study Support Service and likewise via each portfolio manager and their team.

You can see a breakdown of each portfolio here on our local CRN’s page (Wessex).

Portfolio adoption is usually vital to participating NHS Trusts when considering the research studies they wish to undertake, as they are reimbursed for the resource given to conduct the study (e.g. research nurse support, data manager time).


In order to be eligible for portfolio adoption, there are three criteria a study must meet:

  • The study must be ‘research’ (this is stipulated, as often what’s classed as research outside the NHS setting, is sometimes a service evaluation, quality improvement etc. within the NHS – see this table);
  • Have appropriate ethics approval; and Health Research Authority (HRA) Approval where required;
  • Have full research funding* – studies that are automatically eligible will have been awarded via open competition and by the NIHR, other areas of central Government, or an NIHR non-commercial partner (for which there is a list). If the study has received support from multiple funders, then it will be still considered automatically eligible, if one of the funding streams is the NIHR, an area of central Government or a non-commercial partner (found on the list).

*Other non-commercial funding streams (charities for example) may make your project eligible for the portfolio – check with the portfolio team.

You can read more about study eligibility here, including research funded by overseas partners.
There is also a list of FAQs here.

The Portfolio and BU

The source of research funding is the principal determinant of eligibility for NIHR CRN support and so it is encouraged that researchers seek external funding where possible and appropriate.

The amount of funding doesn’t need to substantial in order to be eligible.