£2m confirmed to set up the first NIHR Complex Reviews Support Unit

Issued: Fri, 08 May 2015 12:43:00 BST

A consortium of researchers from around the UK have been awarded £2million to provide support in areas of research that require complex methodological approaches.   

NIHR logoThe National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) funded the University of Glasgow in collaboration with the University of Leicester and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to establish the NIHR Complex Reviews Support Unit (CRSU), which will support the successful delivery of complex reviews of importance to the NHS.

The questions and decisions involved in medical research are becoming increasingly complex and require more complex evaluation and synthesis of existing evidence.  These require novel and sophisticated methodological approaches in synthesising different types of data, in evaluating multidisciplinary and complex interventions, and in synthesising appropriate data for further analysis, such as economic evaluations.  However, the lack of methodological expertise and researcher capacity in this area is a recognised major barrier to completing such complex reviews.

The CRSU will focus on providing timely and appropriate support for the successful delivery of complex reviews that are funded and/or supported by NIHR.  These include reviews funded by the Systematic Review Programme and other NIHR programmes, Cochrane Collaboration, and other NHS and NHS supported sources.  The Unit will also work closely with the NIHR to support scoping and prioritising of future complex reviews, and build capacity and capability within the research community.

‌Olivia Wu, Professor of Health Technology Assessment at the University of Glasgow and Head of the CRSU, said: “There is an indisputable need for evidence-based clinical practice and healthcare policies.  In order to achieve this, there is often a need for complex evaluation and synthesis of existing evidence.  The CRSU will provide advice and support to unexpected challenges arising in complex reviews.  Through its activities, the Unit will support the delivery of timely and accessible evaluation of evidence.

“This is an exciting new collaboration between the three academic institutions and the NIHR.  We look forward to a close and successful working relationship with the NIHR in supporting the UK NHS in delivering clinically and cost-effective services that are evidence-based.”


Media enquiries: nick.wade@glasgow.ac.uk / 01413307126

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