Do clinical research networks work? The NIHR diabetes research network after six years

Author(s): Eleanor Kennedy, David R Matthews

Clinical research in the UK has been boosted over the past decade thanks to the creation of a number of dedicated clinical research networks. Each of these facilitates the conduct of trials from both the academic and commercial sectors. The National Institute for Health Research Diabetes Research Network has been established to facilitate research that will be of benefit to people with diabetes or those who are at risk of developing the condition. Since 2006, the network has helped to recruit over 200,000 patients into over 600 clinical trials and other well-designed studies. The challenge over the next few years will be to consolidate this progress and to work with the network’s sister networks to drive forward new and innovative ways to encourage patients and members of the public to become involved in research; from participation in clinical trials to working with the networks to ensure that the patient voice is heard and that the trials that are run are pertinent and relevant to people living with the condition.