Health researcher

What is Research for the Future?

Research for the Future is an NIHR CRN (National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network) initiative to facilitate recruitment to NIHR portfolio studies and other health and care research using a ‘consent for approach’ model.

We work collaboratively with several NHS partners across the north-west including.

Since the programme was established in 2011*:

  • Over 10,000 people have registered their details and consented to be approached about future research opportunities
  • We have supported more than 200 studies to recruit to a range of research opportunities, including clinical trials, observational studies and engagement opportunities such as focus groups and advisory panels
  • We have been recognised with a number of awards and commendations and have been invited to present to organisations including the NIHR, Quality in Care and Google
  • Feedback from research teams has been overwhelmingly positive with a variety of journals and other publications acknowledging the contribution we have made to recruitment.

* Figures correct at September 2021

We offer research opportunities across all health conditions as well for healthy volunteers. We have five areas of particular interest, covered by our ‘Help BEAT’ campaigns, which are reflected in volunteer numbers.  Current campaigns include:

We are based in an NHS research and innovation department. Using standardised scripts, the team guide volunteers through the registration process, help maintain their details and make contact when opportunities become available to take part in research.

All volunteers are aged 18+years and are interested in participating in health research.

How can we help you ?

We can help you find participants for a wide range of research involvement and engagement opportunities including grant applications, clinical trials and other PPIE (patient and public involvement and engagement) opportunities.

Following your initial enquiry, you will be required to complete the Research for the Future request form and return it along with appropriate study documentation which might include the protocol, patient information sheet and ethics approval(s).

If you want us to approach volunteers from our database to take part in your clinical trial or study, you will need to make sure this is included as part of the recruitment strategy and ethics approval is in place. Please contact us at the earliest opportunity so we can advise on the best way for you to include the Research for the Future service.

We use the information provided to develop a volunteer invite. This briefly outlines the study,  commitment and any specific characteristics of the population required (examples include a health condition, taking a certain medication, able to use smartphone apps).  Research for the Future sends the invite to volunteers who meet the broad inclusion criteria.  Those interested in taking part would contact you directly for further information and discuss eligibility.  We never pass any volunteer details to researchers/research teams.

Opportunities are usually emailed directly to volunteers.  We are able to contact volunteers by telephone or post by request, although costs would need to be covered by the research team.  We can also promote research opportunities on our website and via our social media accounts, you will need to make sure this is included as part of the recruitment strategy.

If you have a specific requirement for your research opportunity or require a more tailored approach we are happy to discuss this with you.  We have experience undertaking participant eligibility screening, telephone interviews and targeted social media campaigns.  You can read about some of the ways we’ve helped research teams on the ‘Case Studies’ page.

For more information or advice, please contact Katherine Grady, Research for the Future Programme Development Manager via our contact page.

What other support can your research benefit from?

The NIHR Clinical Research Network’s Study Support Service can assist you in registering your study for NIHR support.

Developing a new 'Help BEAT' campaign

We are often asked if we can add a new ‘Help BEAT’ campaign to the Research for the Future programme.

If you work in research and have identified our approach as a potential benefit to recruit to NIHR portfolio research, then please contact us.

Our information sheet Developing a new ‘Help BEAT’ campaign has been produced to help guide you through the process.

How you can help Research for the Future

You can help us by promoting Research for the Future across your patient and staff networks, encouraging everyone to get involved in health and care research. A variety of free promotional resources are available, including leaflets, videos and sample content for newsletters, websites and digital channels. We are also able to provide an information stand and attend your clinics, Trust open days, health fairs and patient support groups.