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Government health research strategies

The Departments of Health for each UK country develop and implement research policies.

National and England

NHS National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

The role of NIHR is to develop the research evidence to support decision making by professionals, policy makers and patients, make this evidence available, and encourage its uptake and use.


NIHR’s vision is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. The aims and the measures the NIHR has in place to achieve this are set out in briefing documents and are updated twice-yearly.

There are four main workstreams:

  • NIHR Faculty and research capacity development
  • NIHR research programmes
  • NIHR research infrastructure
  • NIHR research systems and governance

NIHR briefing documents

Northern Ireland

Health & Social Care (HSC) Public Health Agency (PHA) Research & Development Directorate

Health & Social Care Research & Development supports research that provides high quality evidence to improve care for patients, clients and the general population, and adds to our understanding of health, disease, treatment and care.

HSC Research and Development

The current HSC R&D strategy, Research for Health & Wellbeing, has five strategic goals:

  • Research infrastructure
  • Research funding
  • Research capacity
  • Innovation
  • Patient and public involvement

HSC Research and Development strategy: Research for Health & Wellbeing


Chief Scientist Office (CSO)

CSO is part of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates. It supports and promotes high quality research aimed at improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of services offered by NHSScotland and securing lasting improvements to the health of the people of Scotland.

Chief Scientist Office

CSO’s research strategy for 2010-2014 Investing in Research: Improving Health has four aims:

  • Securing benefit
  • Improving population health
  • Valuing and investing in NHS research
  • Building and sustaining skills.

CSO research strategy: Investing in Research: Improving Health


National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR)

NISCHR is the Welsh Government body that develops, in consultation with partners, strategy and policy for research in the NHS and social care in Wales.


The goal of NISCHR is to fund today's research that will inform tomorrow's care and improve the health and wealth of the people of Wales.

The NISCHR research strategy for 2012–2015 Together for Research and Innovation sets out NISCHR's aims and activities under three broad headings:

  • Stimulating and rewarding excellence and innovation
  • Improving the research environment
  • Investing strategically in the future

NISCHR Research and Development strategy: Together for Research and Innovation


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