Research networks

There are a six health networks operating in the West, each with a different remit on the path between ideas and improving health outcomes. Many of these networks are new, and are all involved in improving health and care in the West of England region, through better joined-up working, making research and service changes more effective and involving the right people in improvements and research.

The local health networks are all in the business of helping researchers, practitioners, the private sector, the public and other stakeholders work effectively together to deliver better healthcare and health outcomes for people. Because of these similar goals, there is inevitably some confusion around the function of and interactions between these bodies.

Here’s what each one does, in their shared mission to improve the health and care of people in the region.


Avon Primary Care Research Collaborative (APCRC)

The Avon Primary Care Research Collaborative (APCRC) works on behalf of three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs): Bristol CCG, North Somerset CCG and South Gloucestershire CCG.  They are responsible for supporting and managing research in primary care as well as supporting commissioners to embed a culture of learning through evaluation and evidence informed commissioning.  As an organisation they aim to achieve excellence in supporting research, service evaluation and the routine use of best evidence, to commission the highest quality services and deliver better outcomes for our local populations.

Avon Primary Care Research Collaborative (APCRC) website


Bristol Health Partners

Bristol Health Partners is a strategic collaboration between the city region’s three NHS trusts, its three clinical commissioning groups, two universities and its local authority. These nine organisations have formed Bristol Health Partners voluntarily, and it is funded by contributions from the partners.

Bristol Health Partners exists to improve the health of those who live in and around Bristol and to improve the delivery of the services on which they rely, and to act as a mechanism for change in Bristol’s health and care community and city region. It aims to maximise Bristol’s health research to transform the understanding, treatment and prevention of key health problems in the city region. Bristol Health Partners’ vision is for those who live in and around Bristol to enjoy the highest possible quality of life and experience of care.

Bristol Health Partners website


National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Network: West of England (NIHR CRN: West of England)

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) is the clinical research delivery arm of the NHS. CRNs operate nationally across 15 regions, delivering research in the NHS across all clinical areas. CRN: West of England helps to increase the opportunities for patients to take part in clinical research and ensure that studies are carried out efficiently and support the government’s strategy for UK life sciences by improving the environment for commercial clinical research in the NHS.

CRN: West of England works in collaboration with acute trusts, clinical commissioning groups, consortia, GP surgeries, mental health trusts and other partner organisations. It grows and progresses new initiatives, allocates resource to clinical teams and develops new approaches to existing processes. It aims to reduce the time an idea takes from bench to bedside. The NIHR Clinical Research Network: West of England is hosted by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.

National Institute of Health Research Clinical Research Network: West of England (NIHR CRN West of England) website


National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West (NIHR CLAHRC West)

The overall mission of NIHR CLAHRC West is to actively engage its partners in the conduct of applied health research and the implementation of research evidence to improve health and healthcare across its area. Its ethos is to focus on research and implementation that is equitable and fair, appropriate, providing optimum advice or care at the right time and place, and sustainable, taking account of resource-use and future continuation.

CLAHRC West has two broad thematic areas of ‘improving the management of chronic diseases’ and ‘public health interventions and population health’. It is hosted by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, acting on behalf of the collaborative partnership between local providers of NHS services and NHS commissioners, universities, local authorities and third sector and patient and user organisations, and the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN).

National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West (NIHR CLAHRC West) website


People in Health West of England

People in Health West of England is a collaborative partnership of local organisations, supporting researchers to involve the public in health and social care research, and supporting the public to get involved. Partners include three universities, seven clinical commissioning groups, seven NHS trusts and the South West Ambulance Service NHS Trust alongside other various community health and social care organisations.

People in Health West of England website


West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN)

The West of England Academic Health Science Network is a diverse network of partners who are working collaboratively to put innovation at the heart of healthcare, to improve patient outcomes and contribute to wealth creation. The network aims to do this by translating research into practice, and developing and implementing integrated health care services. Partners include various providers of NHS care, universities, NHS commissioners, and a wide range of other organisations.

West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN) website