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 along with appropriate study documentation.  This might include the protocol or patient information sheet.  For clinical studies appropriate ethics approvals must be in place to recruit via this method.

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 on the form to develop a volunteer invite. This outlines the opportunity, commitment and any specific characteristics of the population required (for example a health condition, taking a certain medication, able 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.

We also promote research opportunities on our website and via our social media accounts. For clinical studies you will need to make sure this is 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 12,500 people have registered and consented to be approached about research opportunities
  • We have supported over 250 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 November 2022

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.


Training for health and care staff

An online Training Package has been produced in collaboration with the NIHR CRN Greater Manchester Research Workforce 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.

If you would like to receive our newsletter, please complete the sign-up form.



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

Our unique ‘consent for approach’ database contains details of people waiting to hear about your research opportunity!

Everyone can help to build this database by encouraging people to get involved in health research and registering with Research for the Future as part of their daily work.

By all of us working together in this way, it means that there will be a larger population waiting to hear about your research when you approach recruitment.

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