NICE and NIHR: working together to produce research with impact

Alice and Zoe discuss how the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and NICE work in partnership and identify key research priorities from NICE guidance.

Alice Murray, Technical Analyst at NICE and Zoe McCrossan, Senior Research Manager at NIHR.

Alice: When forming recommendations, NICE committees are perfectly placed to identify the key gaps and uncertainties in the evidence base. To make the most of this valuable insight, NICE publishes research recommendations on the most important unanswered questions.

NICE also works directly with funding bodies, such as NIHR, to ensure they are aware of the research priorities identified by our committees. For years, we have been working with NIHR to strengthen our partnership and maximize the opportunities for commissioning NIHR research.

Working together has several advantages:

  1. Sharing information: Regular meetings with NIHR and other key stakeholders helps to identify key ongoing research for NICE to monitor. We also develop a clear understanding of our shared research priorities, reducing duplication of effort and avoiding waste in research time and money.
  2. Maximising impact: For areas jointly agreed as key priorities for further research, we can work together to fast-track, co-produce and advertise research briefs. This results in timely calls that clearly define the importance and relevance of the research.
  3. Producing clear and feasible recommendations: Getting NIHR’s input during guidance development helps NICE to produce clear and actionable research recommendations that any funder (not just NIHR) can pick up.

Zoe: In the last 15 years, NIHR has awarded over £117m for  119 research projects based on research recommendations from NICE guidance, with over £16m spent in the 2019/2020 financial year. This has been achieved through routine screening of NICE guidance by NIHR and identification of key priorities during engagement with NICE colleagues. For example:

If you would like to know more about how NICE produces research recommendations, take a look at the process and methods guide. All of the research recommendations are publicly available on the guidance webpages and the research recommendation database.

More information on NIHR programmes, its funding streams and portfolio of funded research can be found on their website. If you are aware of evidence gaps you can make a suggestion for future NIHR research.

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