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Making it easy to do research that people can trust

Last updated on 8 Jun 2022

Patients and members of the public who take part in health and social care research are at the heart of our new three-year strategy being launched today (Wednesday 8 June).

We set out how we will make it simple and fast to deliver research that people can trust following two key principles – include and accelerate.

We worked with a panel of patients and members of the public to draw up the new strategy. Members of the public will join health leaders to launch the strategy in Manchester today.

The HRA oversees 64 Research Ethics Committees made up of a mixture of expert and lay volunteers which provide a vital independent but often unseen service to give trustworthy research the stamp of approval. As part of the launch guests at the Manchester Science and Industry Museum will get to witness a committee in action.

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‘The UK is amongst the best places to do research in the world, with outstanding science, globally successful companies, our national health and social services and strong public support. Fundamental to our success is trust, meaning that people want to get involved in research and use its findings.

‘Cementing our status as a destination to do world-leading research with public confidence will attract investment, creating more research opportunities for patients and the public and helping us to better meet their needs.

‘This strategy focusses on earning and maintaining people’s trust in research.’

Matt Westmore, HRA Chief Executive

Manoj Mistry, a public contributor and carer, from Ashton Under Lyne, Tameside, Greater Manchester, is one of the members of the public who has helped the HRA develop its new strategy.

‘As a Public Contributor, I’m delighted to be able to genuinely co-produce HRA's new strategy, actively ensuring that the patient, carer and public voice is central, recognised and always heard. Our input has been valued and incorporated.’

Manoj Mistry, a public contributor and carer, from Ashton Under Lyne, Tameside, Greater Manchester

The strategy has the backing of Lord Kamall, Minister for Innovation.

Lord Kamall

‘Health and care research is crucial to transform our health service and ensure the NHS is able to deliver world-class care.

‘It has been vital in our fight against COVID and in saving thousands of lives, whether through the rapid creation of vaccines or the identification of life-saving treatments like dexamethasone.

‘This new strategy has patients and the public at the centre and will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of life sciences and innovative safe research, improving the health of our nation and saving lives.’

Lord Kamall, Minister for Innovation

Circle Steele, Chief Executive Officer at the Wai Yin Society, is chairing and event at the launch and also worked on the development of the strategy.

A head and shoulders image of Circle Steele

‘Community engagement is very important, particularly for those for whom English is a second language, many of whom may currently be underserved by health and social care. People trust their community. Researchers, organisations like the Health Research Authority and community members can develop new ways of working together that work for them, opening up opportunities for people to be involved in research that they can trust.’

Circle Steele, Chief Executive Officer at the Wai Yin Society

Dr Jennifer Harris, Director of Research Policy at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), will be speaking at the event.

A head and shoulders image of Jennifer Harris from ABPI looking at the camera and smiling

'This strategy sets an important direction that we strongly believe in: that research should be available, accessible and understandable to all, with streamlined study approvals, set-up and ethical governance.

ABPI welcomes the HRA’s continued efforts to ensure the UK delivers benefits for patients and is a world-leading destination for the research and development of new medicines and vaccines.'

Dr Jennifer Harris, Director of Research Policy at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)

Find out more

About us

The Health Research Authority is an independent arm’s length body of the Department of Health and Social Care. We were set up in 2011 with a mission to protect NHS patients, your tissue and your data when you are involved in research.

We have more than 250 staff in England including offices in London, Bristol, Newcastle, Manchester and Nottingham. They’re supported by our community of around 850 people who volunteer their time generously to help us to deliver our services, and members of the public who advise us on our work. The HRA’s Board leads the organisation and makes decisions that affect our work. The Board approved this strategy.

To make it easy to do research that people can trust, the HRA

  • works with people to understand what you want research to look like and act on this so that you can trust research.
  • makes sure that people taking part in research are treated ethically and fairly, by reviewing and approving health and social care research studies that involve people, their tissue or their data before they can start
  • champions research transparency, so that you can always see when research is taking place, or the results of that research if it has finished
  • works with other organisations across the UK to make sure that, wherever you are, research studies can be set up smoothly and are always subject to the same scrutiny before they start
  • is one of the gatekeepers of patient data, making sure that your information is protected if it’s used for research.
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