MRC Framework on the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions

Acknowledgement: this project is jointly funded by the MRC and NIHR. View the published framework.

The MRC guidance on evaluating complex interventions was first published in 2000, and updated in 2006. Over this period, interest in complex interventions has grown rapidly, and more specialised guidance has been published or is being developed in several related areas. A number of other areas that were identified as gaps in the 2006 guidance - such as research priority-setting and the application of complex systems science to health interventions - have also attracted interest, but are not yet covered by accessible guidance for producers or users of evidence. Both the 2000 and 2006 core guidance documents continue to be highly cited, but given the pace and extent of methodological development, there is a need to update the core guidance, linking it with related developments, and also addressing some of the remaining weaknesses and gaps in the existing guidance.

We led on updating this document and in September 2021 published the new framework for the development and evaluation of complex interventions. A multidisciplinary Scientific Advisory Group oversaw this work. Methods for developing the guidance included a formal gap analysis and the facilitation of a workshop, which consulted with field experts. 

If you have any comments or feedback, please contact Kathryn Skivington.

Webinar 4th October 11am-12:30pm: Authors of the new MRC/NIHR Framework for Developing and Evaluating Complex Interventions outline how the new framework can influence your research. View recording on YouTube.

External authors


Skivington K, Matthews L, Simpson SA, Craig P, Baird J, Blazeby JM, et al. Framework for the development and evaluation of complex interventions: gap analysis, workshop and consultation-informed updateHealth Technol Assess 2021;25(57)

Skivington KMatthews LSimpson S ACraig PBaird JBlazeby J M et al. A new framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions: update of Medical Research Council guidance. doi:10.1136/bmj.n2061)

Webinar: a new framework for developing and evaluating complex interventions

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