As part of its Plan for Growth, published in March 2011, the Government announced the transformation of incentives at local level for improving efficiency in the initiation and delivery of clinical research. This included the requirement that – from April 2012 - funding by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to providers of NHS services would be conditional on meeting benchmarks. This includes a 70-day benchmark to recruit the first patient into trials.

As an Academic Health Science Centre, Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust work together to deliver a wide variety of clinical research studies. These are realised through a variety of funding streams – both commercial and non-commercial – including major NIHR programme awards such as the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre, and the NIHR/Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility.

Each quarter, as specified in NIHR contracts, we are required to return detailed performance information for all interventional clinical trials that recruit patients or volunteers at an Imperial site, regardless of their source of funding. There are two parts to the performance metrics:

Initiation – interventional studies must recruit (i.e. consent) their first participant within 70 calendar days of the Joint Research Compliance Officer (JRCO) receiving a Valid Research Application

Delivery – all commercially-sponsored interventional studies must deliver to time and target, i.e. to recruit the agreed number of patients by the agreed date, as specified in the agreement between the sponsor and Imperial as a site

This information is made publicly available each quarter on the BRC website. We use DOCUMAS to capture and report this information. Click for further details of these requirements.

In parallel to this, the NIHR Clinical Research Networks also work to a number of High Level Objectives, several of which relate to the initiation and delivery of clinical research studies which have been adopted onto the NIHR portfolio. The two sets of metrics are not equivalent, although there are similarities and the timescales are very similar. Click on the link for a paper explaining the differences between the two sets of metrics (pdf).

Please address any questions you may have about the performance metrics or benchmarks to the BRC Office.