About Research and Development

Why is research important?

Research is the attempt to find out something that we don't already know. More formally, it is the attempt to derive generalisable new knowledge by addressing clearly defined questions with systematic and rigorous methods. Without medical research there wouldn’t be new medicines, improved treatments or better ways of providing healthcare.

New treatments, technologies, care approaches and devices all need to be carefully and safely tested in real life healthcare environments. Clinical research in these environments is separately funded, adds value to patient care, and has economic value.

The Care Quality Commission now recognises research as a key activity in a ‘Well Led’ Trust and indicators for research are embedded in its Well Led Inspection Framework (Trusts).  It recognises that research involves all departments, teams, staff and management functions across an organisation. 

Patient access to Clinical Research is recognised in the NHS Constitution and features in the CQC's  annual Inpatient Experience Survey.  It also has a high profile in the NHS Long Term Plan.

There is good evidence that a good level of research activity in a Trust has an impact on overall patient care outcomes – for example, these three articles and the video below:


Research at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

The R&D Department is your central hub for research activity in the Trust; we work with staff will develop a research strategy, facilitate and enable research, and manage research business and operations. 

Led by the Director of Research the R&D department drives strategic initiatives to help embed research in the clinical pathway and fostering a high value research-active culture, to lead and grow research, improve research impact and build quality evidence for health and care. The team has a key role to play in building relationships both within the organisation and externally, supporting researchers, promoting research activity and performance, and creating a positive environment for staff and patient and public involvement in research.

The Trust also sponsors a small, but growing number of home-grown projects. The R&D department supports the set up and good management of all studies ensuring that systems are in place for capacity and capability assessment and to assure the quality, safety and integrity of research for which it is responsible. The R&D department has oversight of all research finance, training and research contracts including HR arrangements for researchers who are external to the organisation. The R&D office will work closely with researchers and research delivery teams, which may be part of the wider R&D Department or embedded in clinical areas and academic partners and the R&D department will work with many external partners such as commercial companies, grant awarding bodies and academic institutions reporting regularly to the Trust board on progress and performance.

Here are some examples of studies we’ve been involved in and here are some examples of research funding has had a positive impact on staff and patients:

PRESENTATION: What did research income buy at LGT?

ARTICLE: Epilepsy study

ARTICLE: Paediatric Emergency Department attendence during Covid-19 study

ARTICLE: Lymphoma study

ARTICLE: Hypotension study

Contact Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust’s R&D Department: LH.RD@nhs.net


How to get started with research

If you’d like to get involved with research or even set-up your own research project, contact your R&D department who will be happy to support you through the process.

This section is dedicated to staff and students who want to conduct a research project at LGT. Below are the stages to go through to get a research project up and running.

  1. Determine whether your study is Research. A handy tool is published on the HRA website: http://www.hra-decisiontools.org.uk/research/. 

  2. a) If the outcome is classified as research, you will need to complete an IRAS application form which will need to be submitted to HRA, and if involving patients, also to Research Ethics Committee (REC). More information on this process can be found here b) If the outcome is not research you are still required to register Audit and Service Evaluations with the Clinical Effectiveness team at LH.ClinicalEffectiveness@nhs.net

  3. Please also visit the advice on preparation of study documentation here 

  4. Following HRA (and REC review if required) you will need to send the Local Information Pack of all study documentation to the R&D office for their capacity and capability review. 

  5. On receipt of the NHS organisation email confirming capacity and capability you are good to start recruiting!

Useful documents:

HRA Approval

HRA Approval is the process for the NHS in England that brings together the assessment of governance and legal compliance, undertaken by dedicated HRA staff, with the independent REC opinion provided through the UK research ethics service. This allows participating organisations to focus their resources on assessing, arranging and confirming their capacity and capability to deliver the study.


R&D Confirmation of Capacity and Capability (NHS permission/R&D approval)

Researchers are required to submit all study documents and regulatory approvals to the R&D office, this is known as the HRA local pack. R&D will then assess whether or not the Trust has the capacity and capability to participate in the study, arrange putting in place any practical arrangements to deliver the study, and finally confirm capacity and capability (NHS permission/R&D approval) for the study to comence.


If you’re a patient and want to get involved here’s how: https://bepartofresearch.nihr.ac.uk/