For researchers

Health researcher

Are you looking for people to take part in your research?

Research for the Future can help you to involve, engage and recruit the right people to participate in your research.

How Research for the Future can help you

We help 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 asked to complete a short application form and return it with appropriate study documentation.  This might include the protocol or patient information sheet.

Contacting us at the earliest opportunity means that we are able to advise on the best way for you to include the Research for the Future service in your recruitment strategy.

We use the information you provide to promote your opportunity in a range of ways, which might include:

  • Sending an invitation to volunteers using our unique ‘consent for approach’ database. This outlines the opportunity, commitment and any specific characteristics of the population required (for example health condition, certain medications, ability to use smartphone apps etc). The invite is sent to volunteers who meet the broad inclusion criteria. If interested, the volunteer will contact the researcher directly to enquire about participation.  We never pass any volunteer details to researchers/research teams. Opportunities are usually emailed to volunteers.  We can contact volunteers by telephone or post, although costs would need to be covered by the research team.
  • publication on our website
  • via our social media accounts.

For clinical studies you will need to make sure these are included as part of the recruitment strategy

We are able to explore tailored recruitment support, for example participant eligibility screening, telephone interviews and targeted social media campaigns.  Contact us to discuss your specific requirements.

You can read more about some of the ways we’ve supported research teams on the Case Studies page.

What is Research for the Future?

Research for the Future is an NIHR CRN (National Institute for Health and Care Research Clinical Research Network) initiative to facilitate recruitment to NIHR portfolio studies and other health and care research.  We use a ‘consent for approach’ database of volunteers who are interested in taking part in research. All volunteers are aged 18+years.

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

Since the programme was established in 2011*:

  • More than 16,500 people have registered and consented to be approached about research opportunities
  • We have supported over 300 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 2023

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

Research for the Future is based in an NHS research and innovation department. The team support volunteers through the registration process, maintain their details and make contact when research opportunities arise.

Further information

To discuss your requirements, please contact Katherine Grady, Research for the Future Programme Development Manager, via our contact page.

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Training for health and care staff

An online Training Package has been produced in collaboration with the NIHR CRN Greater Manchester and North West Coast: Workforce, Learning and Development Team.  It is aimed at staff working in or interested in research and explains how Research for the Future supports researchers to effectively involve, engage and recruit people to research.


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.


How you can help Research for the Future

We support researchers by connecting them with the right people to take part in their opportunities.  We do this using a unique volunteer database.  We need your help to build this database, by encouraging people to register with Research for the Future

Working together in this way means that we are ideally placed to help researchers like you when they request our help with recruitment.

A variety of free promotional resources are available to download, including leaflets, videos and content for newsletters, websites, social media, and other digital channels. Please contact us if you require hard copies or information in another format.