Research and Innovation

Our Research and Innovation Department supports all aspects of the Trust’s research.

Latest news

International Clinical Trials Day 

Saturday 20 May 2023 (to be celebrated on Monday 22nd May 2023)

Today’s research is tomorrow’s healthcare! Have you ever wondered how doctors and nurses know what treatment or care to give?  It is only through health research that healthcare professionals find new and better ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating disease.

International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world to mark the day when Captain James Lind carried out the first recorded clinical trial in history, into the deadly disease, scurvy.

These days, research has a vital role in healthcare. The results of research help us find out about the best available treatments to help the people we are caring for. But it’s not just about treatments, research can also help in other ways. The National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) has identified that research can:

  • Find new and better ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases or conditions
  • Test new approaches that could improve the lives of people receiving health or social care
  • Look at the costs and benefits of making changes in the community, for example, introducing exercise programmes or screening for cancer in certain age groups
  • Help us understand how the NHS and social care services can spend money and run more efficiently

At Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, we offer patients the opportunity to become involved in a wide range of research, ranging from randomised controlled trials to observational studies. We deliver local, national and international trials across 18 specialities. For example, we are involved in the international RECOVERY trial, which aims to identify treatments that may be beneficial for people hospitalised with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The RECOVERY trial has already saved thousands, if not millions of lives worldwide, by discovering four effective treatments for COVID-19 so far.

Research activity

Harrogate & District NHS Foundation Trust as a partner organisation in the Yorkshire and Humber CRN is committed to supporting research activity as part of the service it provides. In addition, as an NHS organisation it aims to ensure that as many patients and staff as possible have the opportunity to take part in research. To deliver research activity research staff work with and are supported by many departments in the organisation.

The Trust is committed to improving patient care through research and innovation. We strive to give as many patients and staff as possible the opportunity to take part in clinical studies.

Research staff work with clinical teams to recruit patients into research studies and support them throughout the process.

There is a dedicated team of Research Nurses and Clinical Trial Assistants alongside other staff funded to support research.

Most clinical research studies are national studies that recruit patients from several NHS organisations, including Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.

HDFT’s Research Department has an active team of 34 doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and support staff who aim to give as many patients as possible the opportunity to take part in research and generate quality research data. Over the last 10 years, 23,794 patients have participated in research under the care of Harrogate & District NHS Foundation Trust.  We currently have 67 active studies.

The research team are funded directly from the Department of Health via the NIHR Local Clinical Research Network (Y&H NIHR CRN).

The NIHR portfolio of studies is a database of good quality research projects which will provide useful evidence to inform NHS care.

The majority of research studies currently running at HDFT are national studies which are managed elsewhere (other NHS organisation or university, for example) and hosted here at HDFT with local research staff recruiting patients and submitting initial and follow up data to a central study team.

Some of these studies are funded by pharmacy or device company partners who have opted to have a study adopted onto the NIHR portfolio. In addition, we have a number of studies which are funded and supported by academic institutions and charities.

HDFT as a partner organisation in the Yorkshire and Humber CRN is committed to supporting research activity as part of the service it provides. To deliver research activity research staff work with and are supported by many departments in the organisation.

Current specialities involved in research

HDFT has a growing portfolio of research activity.  Specialist areas involved in research by directorate:

Long Term and Unscheduled Care

  • Emergency care, haematology, oncology, immunology & infection, cardiology, respiratory, elderly care, neurology, diabetes, community care, cancer

Planned and Surgical Care 

  • Critical care, reproductive health, paediatrics, orthopaedics, general surgery, rheumatology, ophthalmology, dermatology, urology, gastro-enterology, bowel screening

Children’s and County Wide Community Care

  • Paediatrics, community based research

We are always looking for other specialties to take part so that all patients have the opportunity to join a study if it is suitable for them.

Please click here to see what Covid-19 research we are currently involved in.

You can also visit the Trust’s main Covid-19 information page here.

Taking part in research – participants’ experience

New and improved treatments and services become available because such a wide range of people take part in research studies.  It can be a rewarding experience. Below are comments from our annual survey of research participants about the experience of taking part in research.

How did you feel when approached about research?

“Very positive. I am keen to give something back to the system which is looking after me so well. I am receiving excellent care and attention.”

What was your motivation for taking part in the study?

“I am in full support of going forward with new treatments, not only to help myself but others who suffer from this debilitating disease.”

Further comments?

“Good experience, made to feel special and cared for.”

Our performance in research

The Trust is required to submit data on national targets to Department of Health and Social Care.

Performance in initiating research (PII)

Performance in initiating research is meeting the target of 70 days from HDFT receiving valid study information pack to recruiting first patient in all clinical studies for which HDFT was selected as a site in the previous twelve months.

Performance in delivering research (PID)

Performance in delivering research is recruiting to time and target to all commercial contract clinical studies hosted by HDFT that closed to recruitment in the previous twelve months.

Please click here to view HDFT data on performance.

Contact us

If you would like to get involved in research at HDFT, please contact the R&I Office on 01423 555697 or email [email protected]

Why not keep up to date with us on Facebook too?

Key staff

Research Leads are:

Associate Medical Director for Research: Prof Alison Layton – 01423 557401 or [email protected]

R&I Lead: Michelle Platton – 01423 555692 or [email protected]

Useful links and information

The research service values the contribution of patients, carers and the public. We have two Patient Research Ambassadors as part of our team, who bring the patient/public view to our work.

Patient and Public Involvement is integral to the work of the National Institute of Health Research. There are many ways to get involved. If you are interested please contact us at [email protected] or 01423 555692 or go to the National Institute of Health Research website to find out more.

  • Clinical trials NHS Choices– If you are approached about taking part in research please consider reading this resource before making your decision.
  • Be Part of Research – Be Part of Research is an online service that provides an opportunity to help members of the public understand what research is and what it might mean to take part, as well as showing what research is currently happening across the UK. The site supports the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) aim to help people make informed choices about taking part in health and social care research and make sure everyone has the chance to get involved, if they want to.