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Access data, patient cohorts or samples support

NIHR’s investment in research infrastructure funds a number of initiatives to help researchers access health data, identify participants for research, and access, store and analyse research samples.

Access to data

Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD)

The Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) provides researchers with access to high-quality, anonymised primary care records for health research, such as outcomes research, epidemiology and randomised controlled trials.

CPRD data and services can be highly tailored to meet your specific research needs. Data costs are charged at a fixed rate depending upon which data sources are required and the complexity of linkage.

Find out more about CPRD.

NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative

The NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative (HIC) provides access to high quality, longitudinal NHS datasets for ethically approved research studies. The available data is in six clinical areas:

  • cardiovascular medicine 
  • cancer: breast, colorectal, lung, ovarian and prostate
  • critical care
  • infectious diseases
  • renal transplantation
  • viral hepatitis

Find out more about HIC.

Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS) and the Dementia CRIS (D-CRIS)

The Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS) and the Dementia CRIS (D-CRIS), based at the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, provide rapid access to pseudonymised mental health clinical records held in NHS systems.

This allows researchers to search structured and unstructured free-form clinical data, to swiftly investigate hypotheses and define anonymised patient cohorts.

In addition, some patients have given pre-consent to be contacted about research projects from information in their records, allowing targeted recruitment for trials and observational studies.

Find out more about CRIS and D-CRIS.

Health Data Finder for Research

The Health Data Finder for Research helps researchers to find information about the UK healthcare data sets that are available for research and to direct you to the relevant data custodian experts to request access to these data sets.

Find out more about the Health Data Finder for Research.

Access to patient cohorts

NIHR BioResource

The NIHR BioResource is a panel of over 100,000 highly characterised healthy volunteers and patients with common and rare diseases, who are willing to be approached to participate in research studies investigating the links between genes, the environment, health and disease.

The NIHR BioResource can help you identify and recruit individuals who are tailored to your clinical trial by enabling access to well characterised groups of individuals by genotype and or phenotype.

Find out more about the NIHR BioResource.

Access, storage and analysis of research samples

UKCRC Tissue Directory

The UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) Tissue Directory is a free online resource that catalogues the different types of human sample resources across the UK (for example, biobank, cohort, biorepository, clinical trial).

The UKCRC Tissue Directory has characterized over 180 sample resources, hosting over 400 sample collections, covering 136 diseases and counting. Researchers can search the directory by gender, age, and disease, to either find banked samples or resources that can acquire bespoke collections.

Find out more about the UKCRC Tissue Directory.

NIHR National Biosample Centre

The NIHR Biosample Centre provides a high quality, high capacity service for biomedical researchers engaged in studies that include the collection, processing, storage and analysis of biological samples from their volunteers and patients.

Find out more about the NIHR Biosample Centre.

MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre

The MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre has world-class capability in metabolic phenotyping, using Nuclear-Magnetic-Resomace (NMR) spectroscopy and Ultra-Performance-Liquid-Chromotogrphy coupled to Mass Spectrometry (UPLC-MS) to analyse blood and urine samples.

The centre offers a wide range of analysis services to researchers, from broad profiling untargeted assays through to targeted assays. These services are offered on a collaborative project basis or as a fee-for-service offering.

Find out more about the MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre.