Research priorities

Physiotherapy research priorities focus research and funding in areas of practice requiring urgent evidence. They sit within the context of wider health research priorities across the UK.


The CSP is now working with the James Lind Alliance and other stakeholders from across the UK to identify physiotherapy research priorities for the next three years.

We’d like anyone with experience of physiotherapy in the UK to tell us what questions need answering. That way we can make sure research focusses on the most urgent needs of patients and promotes health and well being.

Find out more about the James Lind Alliance Physiotherapy Priority Setting Partnership

Current research priorities

The most recent CSP project to identify research priorities took place in 2010/11. The project has been fully documented in a Physiotherapy Journal article. For more detail on each area, use the document links below:

Government priorities

Each UK country has a health research strategy which identifies priorities for how research funding is used; for example, to support research training, research projects or the dissemination of research findings. Key topic priorities for healthcare in each country are found in a range of health and social care policy documents.


Putting patients first, the NHS England business plan for 2013/14-2015/16, set out key priorities for the NHS in England. Examples of areas identified as priorities in the plan include patient satisfaction and enhancing quality of life for people with long term conditions.

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Northern Ireland

Transforming Your Care, a review of health and social care in Northern Ireland, has recommendations for the shape of its services and identifies ten priority areas of care in its implementation plan. And back in 2011, a Delphi study to identify research priorities for the therapy professions in Northern Ireland was undertaken by the University of Ulster.


The Chief Scientist Office has the principal remit for NHS research within Scotland that includes awarding grants and fellowships, and funding research units.

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The Welsh government has established Health and Care Research Wales to support and increase capacity in research and development. It runs a range of responsive funding schemes and manages the NHS R&D funding allocation.

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Patient and clinician priorities

Most organisations will ensure that they include the views of patients and clinicians when setting their research priorities. And by working in partnership with patients and carers, clinicians can help ensure that research funding targets what matters to service users.

James Lind Alliance

The James Lind Alliance has been set up to identify important gaps in knowledge about the effect of treatments. Partnerships of patients and clinicians identify and prioritise as yet unanswered but important questions. This information is then made available to health research funders. See their website for further information on their priority setting partnership and the top 10s of priorities for research.

Treatment uncertainties

The NHS Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (DUETS) contained information about treatment uncertainties that lacked reliable research evidence. It helped to shape UK research priorities by taking into account the information needs of patients, carers and clinicians. As of January 2016, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) stopped supporting DUETS. NICE now recommends its evidence search as an alternative resource for information about treatment uncertainties.

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