Who are we and what do we do?

Research in Primary Care     

We are the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) East of England and we bring together a wide variety of primary care practitioners, including GPs, Dentists, Pharmacists and Health Visitors to offer patients in primary care settings unprecedented opportunities to become involved in high quality clinical studies.  This involves innovations in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and health care delivery in the community. 

We support the set up and delivery of this research in Primary Care settings.

The Primary Care Specialty has successfully recruited across a range of conditions and complex interventions. 

More information and resources can be found on the CRN East of England Hub Home website and the Luton, Essex and Herts (LEH) Valley Primary and Community Care research team website. 

We hope that you find our website useful and informative. 

If you have any feedback, please complete our feedback form.

Quotes received from Study Teams

Together2 Study - Evaluating video and hybrid group consultations in general practice: mixed methods, participatory study (CPMS 52286)


Aim of the study:  To better understand how group consultations for chronic conditions can benefit patients and the health service when delivered on video and/or in-person sessions in general practice


“really helpful and responsive in supporting our research – above and beyond”


Prodemos Study - Prevention of Dementia using Mobile phone Applications (CPMS 40549)

Aim of the study: To investigate whether optimisation of management of Dementia risk factors using an interactive mHealth intervention (App) leads to reduction of dementia risk and to evaluate the implementation of an App for dementia



“Thanks to all for your ongoing support, we truly couldn't have achieved what we have without you”


Active Brains – use of web based games (CPMS 44571)

Aim of the study: to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness

of a digital intervention to help in making healthy changes to maintain cognitive function and prevent cognitive decline.


“The Active Brains Study had an ambitious recruitment target, and the team at CRN East of England have been instrumental in helping us reach this. The research nurses’ close relationships with their local GPs enabled a high level of practice engagement and the core team were always keen to support ways to increase recruitment resulting in East of England being the top recruiting CRN for the Active Brains Study – thank you for all of your help!”

CRN East of England are extremely proud to be the highest recruiting LCRN for the Active Brains study, this enabled them to exceed their recruitment target of 21,500 participants for the study🎉 

Exceptional performance last year

In the East of England and solely in Primary Care settings

26,250 participants

were recruited into more than

52 recruiting studies

with the involvement of

231 research active GP practices

from the region

Get Involved

Research Site Initiative: 2022-2024

For Primary Care research across the region we use the annual Research Site Initiative (RSI) contract.  This helps us work with staff in a Primary Care setting and to identify appropriate studies with the relevant teams to ensure that studies are inclusive for patients with lower literacy levels, a key target demographic.

RSI funding is to enable such organisations to be research active and to undertake study feasibility assessments, act as a Participant Identification Centre (PIC) and to enable NIHR CRN Portfolio study delivery. This funding is in addition to the study specific patient-related costs which a practice receives as reimbursement for service support activities.  Further details are outlined on our Finance page. 


Available Training for Healthcare Professionals

GCP is the international ethical, scientific and practical standard to which all clinical research is conducted. 

Primarily for those who have worked in research delivery for less than 12 months but could also be beneficial for those with more experience.

The training is aimed at research delivery staff in a patient-facing role; who have been in practice for 6 months or less; or are working on or with NIHR Portfolio studies and have completed Good Clinical Practice training.

The Associate PI Scheme is a six month in-work training opportunity, providing practical experience for healthcare professionals starting their research career.


Useful Resources for our RSI Practices

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Working Instructions (WIs)

Here you can find documentation on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Working Instructions (WIs).

Promoting Research

Tools, resources, advice and guidance to make it easier for you to inform and attract participants to participate in research.

Latest News

Be Part of Research on International Clinical Trials Day

This year's NIHR campaign for International Clinical Trials Day (ICTD), through #BePartofResearch, will take place week commencing 3rd June and will promote ways for the public to get involved in research. 

Printed materials, including leaflets, posters, balloons, t-shirts and bunting, are in production and will be available from the NIHR Online Store by Monday 15 April. Please let us know if we can support your ICTD events by emailing us at crneoe.comms@nihr.ac.uk.

NIHR 2022-23 annual report published 

The NIHR’s annual report and accounts have recently been published, showcasing key milestones and successes achieved throughout the 2022-23 financial year. This year’s report includes: a foreword from Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR, and Dr Gail Marzetti, Deputy Chief Executive of the NIHR; a selection of NIHR news highlights from throughout the year, and; NIHR's annual financial summary for 2022-23. 

Help our research community's vaccine efforts gain global recognition

We are excited to announce that the CRN is nominated for “Best Clinical Trial Network” at the 2024 Vaccine Industry Excellence Awards, which recognise the efforts of those who work in the vaccine industry.

The UK’s vaccine trial performance has been unparalleled and we know that this could not have happened without many, if not all of you.  You can help gain international recognition for our CRN research community and put the UK on the map as a world-leading destination for vaccine research by registering your vote before Friday 16 February. 

15 February - 26 April: NIHR Research Learning Lectures

The NIHR Associate Principal Investigator (PI) Scheme has launched a series of Research Learning Lectures for anyone in Health and Social Care.  They cover a variety of topics relating to basic science, clinical trial methodology and statistics, and provide career advice to help attendees work towards a career in research or academia. 

"Life-changing health and care research starts with people like you."

We are thrilled to share our new film to raise awareness of health and care research, which you can watch on NIHRTV YouTube now.  It explains the vital part research plays in improving treatments and care happening at hospitals, GP practices, and in wider care around the region.  It also highlights the incomparable role our participants have in helping to make research happen. 

"What is Research?" 

Easy Read Booklet and Slides available

We have created a new booklet and slide set presentation which explain what research is in an 'easy-read' format. The tools have been developed with Thinkclusive designers to provide an introduction to research which adheres to the national Accessible Information Standard.

They are intended to be used as precursors to Be Part of Research information and our existing booklet, Clinical Research: An Easy Read Guide. If you would like any printed copies of the new booklet, or if you have any questions, please email us at crneoe.comms@nihr.ac.uk.

East of England BEST4 trial recruits first participant to monitoring arm

The NIHR's Cambridge-led BEST4 trial launched this week, recruiting the first participant to the first stage of the trial for people already diagnosed with Barrett’s oesophagus. BEST4 Surveillance, as the first stage is called, will look at whether the capsule sponge test could replace endoscopies to monitor their condition.

The second stage of the trial, BEST4 Screening, opens in the summer and will recruit 120,000 people aged over 55 on long-term treatment for heartburn. If the capsule sponge is proven to prevent oesophageal cancer when used to screen or monitor those most at risk of the disease, it could become a national screening programme across the NHS.  

"We're stronger by working together"  

Karen Norcott, a Primary Care Research Nurse and Manager at The Breckland Alliance in Norfolk, has worked in research for over 20 years, and in that time, has been at the helm of pioneering primary care research.

Find out how the NIHR has helped her to #ShapeTheFuture of research through the link in our bio >> Karen Norcott #ShapeTheFuture << 

New Social Care film launched featuring East of England research staff

We have produced a short film, out now on NIHR TV, which explains why research in social care settings, like care homes, is so important. Hear from care home managers, social care researchers and NIHR research nurses about why they are involved in research, and learn how other social care staff can get involved. 

2022/23 PRES results published 

The PRES Results report for 2022/23 is now available.  Last year saw a 35% increase in the response rate since 2021/22, with 3,538 responses collected across all versions of the survey compared to 2,617 in the previous year.  Key findings show that over 90% of respondents felt they were treated with courtesy and respect, and said they would consider taking part in research again. The research staff received a huge amount of praise for the way they treat people, including their professional, friendly and caring manner.

However big or small the change might be, we want to hear about how you have improved the way research is delivered based on feedback given through the PRES. We are looking for case studies to demonstrate that we are listening to them and their feedback is making a difference.  Please contact donna.coe@nihr.ac.uk to tell us about your improvements.