What we do

NELFT Research and Development team aims to support patients and their families who participate in research at NELFT whilst also promoting good quality and innovative research by:

  • Supporting researchers through supervision, training, co-ordination and statistics and methodology assistance.
  • Monitoring adherence to the NHS & Department of Health research governance guidelines.
  • Ensuring all research staff adhere to principles of Good Clinical Practice
  • Supporting HRA with capacity and capability for research


Prior to a study commencing at NELFT there is a robust assessment of NELFT’s capacity and capability to act as a site for the study. This process is facilitated by our Research Delivery Manager (James Sinclair) and involves working with the NELFT Principal Investigator (PI), relevant NELFT services and the Study team to ascertain the following*:

(*this list is not exhaustive but provides an example of the nature of questions addressed during the assessment process)  

  • PI identification (if necessary)
    • Is there a NELFT member of staff willing to take on the PI role for the study?
    • Are they in a position to provide what the study requires?
  • Realistic recruitment targets
    • Do we have the required patient population and footfall for the study?
    • Will we be able to meet the recruitment target within the proposed time period?
  • Resources
    • Do we have enough staff in the right place at the right time to facilitate recruitment and study activities?
    • Does the study require the support of our Clinical Studies Officers (CSOs)?
    • Does the study require any specialised equipment? 
    • What requirements are there for the storage of site files and study documentation?
  • Impact on NELFT services
    • What/ how much time will be required of NELFT staff?  
    • What can we do to minimise any service impact/ use of clinical staff time?  
    • Are there other studies currently running in the service? 
  • Training
    • Have all NELFT staff who are going to be involved in the informed consent process completed Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training?

We strongly recommend GCP training for all NELFT staff involved in research. This ensures that the trust maintains a high standard of research delivery and helps protect both research participants and the quality of the data.


If assessment of capacity and capability is successful (and following receipt of, at least, the initial assessment letter from the HRA) then arrangements will be made for the delivery of the study at NELFT.

This involves the putting in place of processes necessary to meet agreements made during the assessment process. This might include, but is not limited to:

  • Scheduling staff activities (both clinical staff and CSOs)
  • Planning and putting in place any required staff training as appropriate in line with HRA guidance and sponsor requirements
  • Localising of study documents
  • Putting in place all arrangements to deliver the study across the required patient pathway
  • Completing arrangements for honorary research contracts or letters of access
  • Completing negotiation and agreement of financial arrangements
  • Scheduling of site initiation visit


Once all processes are in place and final approval from the HRA has been received the R&D department will issue official confirmation of capacity and capability and the study can commence at NELFT. 


We aim to produce an environment which encourages research by providing availability of well trained and experienced supervisors. We offer clinical supervision, research supervision, statistical and research methodology supervision and provide additional support through PHD & Research Journal Club. Researchers can approach the R&D department for assistance with location of a supervisor for a project and for peer review.


We support members of the trust who wish to further their research knowledge and skills with internal workshops, open days and external funding for courses with a substantive research component. Click here for the complete training programme.


The R&D department staff aims to make the process of research application and approval as pain free as possible. This is achieved by working closely with Human Resources, Health Research Authority and the North Thames LCRN to make sure that research governance and NELFT protocols are adhered to and that researchers are given assistance with form completion.


We offer small grants and scholarships for individuals who wish to cover the expenses of running a project or attending research based training courses.

Grant application and costing

We provide support with grant application, costing, complete costing for research grant applications and help to identify personnel or expertise in grant writing

Patient and Public Involvement

The NELFT R&D department strives to deliver quality research which places service users and carers at the centre of our work. We are keen to continue with this and increase our Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) at the Trust and would like to encourage you to get involved.

INVOLVE is a national advisory group which is part of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and one of its main aims is to support  greater public involvement in NHS research. They define PPI as follows - Patient and public involvement in research is research that is carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them.

Research is enhanced by valuing the contributions of service users, carers and staff in sharing their knowledge, experience and skills.  Such involvement improves the relevance and quality of our research and ensures that our studies are focussed on the needs of patients.  In turn this can potentially expedite the transfer of research results and evidence into practice.

PPI offers people the opportunity to work together with research teams and grant applicants on varied aspects of research from the grant application stage and study design, through to study delivery and dissemination. Further examples of areas for contribution are assisting with identifying methods of reaching potential participant groups or advising on the accessibility and acceptability of study literature i.e. patient information sheets and adverts.

By collaborating on the development of research the public can assist in highlighting research priorities and influencing the delivery of improved practice and care for all of us. So if you recognize the value of research and would like to contribute to our on-going work through PPI then please do contact Panarai Ford, Ext: 58117, or email, Panarai.Ford@nelft.nhs.uk