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NIHR CRN National Specialty Hub

NIHR CRN National Specialty Hub

Welcome to the National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) Specialty Cluster Hub. The CRN Specialty Cluster Hub is part of the CRN Coordinating Centre (CRNCC). Led by our Medical Director Professor Nick Lemoine, we provide clinical academic leadership for the Clinical Research Network at a national level. We are one of six National Specialty Cluster Hubs hosted by Higher Education Institution members of the Clinical Research Network Alliance as listed below:

  • Imperial College London (St. Mary’s Campus)
    Cardiovascular Disease; Diabetes; Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders; Renal Disorders; Stroke.

  • Imperial College London (Department of Gene Therapy)
    Respiratory Disorders; Ear, Nose and Throat; Gastroenterology; Hepatology; Infection.

  • King's College London
    Anaesthesia, peri-operative medicine and pain management; Critical Care; Health Services Research; Trauma and Emergency Care; Primary Care; Public Health; Dermatology; Mental health; Social Care.

  • University of Liverpool
    Clinical Pharmacology Specialty cluster: Children; Haematology; Musculoskeletal disorders; Ophthalmology; Reproductive health and childbirth.

  • Newcastle University
    Ageing; Dementias and neurodegeneration (DeNDRoN); Genetics; Neurological disorders.

  • University of Leeds
    Cancer; Oral and Dental Health; Surgery.

What we do

The CRN Specialty Cluster Hub provides oversight of the need for and capacity for clinical research, working with those involved with portfolio development to stimulate and direct the portfolio for the benefit of patients and the NHS. Our broad remit is summarised below:


  • To provide leadership and support to Specialty National Leads, their National Specialty Groups and other national research communities of practice to help continuously improve research portfolio volume, balance and performance.

  • To play a key role in understanding "how best to deliver" health and care research in the NHS and other health and care settings for each Specialty and ensure this feeds into CRN processes and practices at all levels, providing expert intelligence and advice to the CRN Research Delivery Directorate

  • To keep up to date knowledge of the broader research environment and translate changes into CRN strategy to ensure we remain at the forefront of specialty research internationally.

  • To act as an ambassador promoting the NIHR CRN to customers and stakeholders. To build effective relationships with decision-makers in the public sector, charity, commercial funding organisations, Biomedical Research Centres/Units and other components of the NIHR, demonstrating scientific leadership to develop pull-through models for the research pipeline.

  • Through the NIHR CRN National Specialty Leads and the Local CRN staff, engage effectively with health and care professionals in a variety of settings, to maximise the reach, impact and delivery of the CRN and its initiatives.

For further information about the NIHR CRN National Specialty Groups included in our cluster please follow website links below:


NIHR CRN National Specialty Groups

Anaesthesia, Peri-operative medicine & pain management


Critical care




Health services research


Trauma and Emergency care


Primary care


Public Health


Mental Health


Social Care


The Team 

NIHR CRN Medical Director 

Professor Nick Lemoine

NIHR CRN Specialty Cluster Lead

Dr Philip Evans
Specialties: Dermatology; Mental health; Primary care; Public Health; Social Care.

Professor Stephen Smye

Specialties: Anaesthesia, peri-operative care & pain management; Critical care; HSR; Trauma and Emergency care.

NIHR CRN Assistant Specialty Cluster Lead

Julie Solomon

Mobile: 07557 861643

Office: 020 7848 8701

NIHR CRN Specialty Cluster Manager

Jo Mearhart

Mobile: 07464 912206

Office: 020 7848 8371

NIHR CRN Operations Coordinator    
Isabel Baker

Mobile: 07769 882111

Office: 020 7848 8372

Specialty Cluster Administrators
Tania Ferreira

Office: 0207 848 8370

Paolo Chianta

Office: 020 7848 8371 


Areas of Emerging Technology and Innovation and NIHR Initiative


Specialty Cluster C work with colleagues at King's College London to lead and contribute to initiatives which will enable the CRN to develop its future infrastructure and operations in the areas of Genomics in Primary and Community settings and Experimental Medicine in Critical Care. We also lead on a pan-NIHR Initiative to support and develop the delivery of Imaging research in the UK.


Genomics in Primary Care and Community Settings

The Genomics Project is led by Professor Philip Evans (Specialty Cluster C Lead and National Specialty Lead for Primary Care). We aim to develop and implement a plan which will drive better delivery of research studies involving genomics in NHS Primary Care settings. The project involves 3 workstreams: Informatics, Family History and Phenotyping; Operationalising Genomics Research; and Developing the Genomics Workforce.

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) has now published a joint paper in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) on preparing primary and community care NHS organisations for genomic research.

Experimental Medicine in Critical care

The project aims to support the set up and delivery of Experimental Medicine in Critical Care studies within the NHS. Following on from the recommendations from the 2018 workshop, we intend to focus on the following areas:

  • Develop new and stronger partnerships with industry and cross sector  partners
  • Working with key stakeholders, to support the  set up and delivery of studies in the NHS
  • Draft an Experimental Medicine in Critical Care strategy to increase the capacity and capability across the UK, including recommendations for:

-      The research workforce

-      Improving efficiency of existing infrastructure

-      Development of trial design and methods

-      Improve NHS and Industry/Biobank engagement

The NIHR CRN Experimental Medicine subgroup will play a coordinating role in progressing these recommendations, which will require UK system-wide responses.


NIHR Imaging Initiative

The overarching aim of the NIHR Imaging Initiative is to accelerate the development, evaluation and clinical translation of novel imaging science by: supporting the development of the imaging research workforce; developing new and stronger partnerships with industry; working with key national partners, including patients and the public; and streamlining processes required to set up and deliver imaging studies. The initiative is led by Professor Steve Smye (Specialty Cluster C Lead) and brings together representatives from NOCRI, NIHR Academy, King’s College London, University of Cambridge, the Royal College of Radiologists and other professional organisations.


Findings from a workshop entitled 'Delivering Imaging Research in the NHS' are available upon request. Crucially, the report includes a roadmap detailing how we intend to work with our partners to improve the delivery of imaging studies in the NHS across five areas: workforce, science, infrastructure, industry and engagement and public and patient involvement. 

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