National Institute of Health Research

Help us shape research

At the NIHR, patients and the public are at the heart of what we do. They help to ensure that our research is relevant, useful and accessible to everyone. But did you know that they also help us to decide what needs to be researched?

Submit a research suggestion

You don’t have to be a doctor, a clinician or an academic to submit a research suggestion to the NIHR. We welcome suggestions from patients, carers and members of the public whose detailed knowledge of living with conditions and insight into the practicalities of treatment is invaluable to us. 

If you have identified something that is missing from the NHS, something we can investigate and test, we want to hear from you.

Maybe it’s a treatment that would work better than current practice. Maybe current care needs to be delivered in a different way. Whatever your idea is, let us know by completing our short suggestion form. Please give as much information as you can, but if you can’t answer a section just leave it blank. We still want to hear your ideas.

What needs researching (what treatment, test or other intervention)?


What is missing? What is the research question that needs to be answered? For example:

  • What is the clinical and cost-effectiveness of Lamotrigine for people with borderline personality disorder?
  • How effective is UVB light when combined with creams/ointments for vitiligo?
  • What is the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of peer-led school interventions to reduce substance misuse?


Who is it for? Patient groups, people, population or communities. For example:

  • Patients with diabetic foot ulcers in hospital and community settings.
  • Babies under 34 weeks arriving at local neonatal units.
  • Children under the age of five years in households experiencing disadvantaged circumstances.


What is it? For example: 

  • The use of a diagnostic test or questionnaire, drug treatments, devices, surgical techniques, physical or talking therapies, settings of care and screening.
  • Wider public health issues and services, e.g. reducing transport injuries related to children and young people.
  • Improvements to the quality of health services, how effective they are and how easy they are for people to get access to.


Please provide as much detail as you can. “Treatment for foot ulcers” is too broad. “Pressure-relieving treatment for preventing and managing diabetic foot ulcers” is much more focused.

What outcome should we measure?


What is the desired result? What changes? For example:

  • Method of service delivery
  • Treatment
  • Frequency or accessibility of treatment or service

Why would this research be important for the public, patients or the NHS?


Any information you can give here will help us understand the importance of what you have suggested. Personal experience is welcome. Tell us why it matters to you. For example:

  • Foot ulceration is thought to affect 15% of all people with diabetes at some time during their life, and is a major contribution to the morbidity and mortality of the disease, and a significant cost burden to the NHS.
  • People with learning disability experience poorer health than the general population and are more likely to die prematurely. In addition, there is long-standing evidence that people with learning disability have difficulty accessing good quality NHS care.
  • Approximately two thirds of smokers begin smoking before the age of 18 and a third before the age of 16. It is well recognised that many children who start smoking become regular adult smokers. As smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death in the UK, reducing the number of smokers is a key element in improving public health.


What exactly are we looking for?

How do you ensure that your suggestion stands the best chance of being researched?  

Here are some tips to help you fill in the form.

Help with the suggestion for health research form 


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Complete our online web form to make a research suggestion to our programmes.

Research suggestion?

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