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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 access to high quality, anonymised primary care data for retrospective and prospective public health and clinical studies, such as outcomes research, epidemiology and randomised controlled trials.

The primary care data are linked to a range of other health related data to provide a longitudinal, representative UK population health dataset. 

CPRD data and services can be highly tailored to meet your specific research needs. 

Find out more about CPRD.

NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative

The NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative (HIC) provides access to high quality, longitudinal secondary care datasets for translational research. Datasets are available in a number of clinical areas:

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

Find out more about HIC.


ScanMedicine is a comprehensive database of clinical trials and medical devices information. Researchers can use the database to gain an overview of the research landscape in their area of interest, to support planning research and building collaborations.

The free resource, developed by the NIHR Innovation Observatory (NIHRIO), can be used to simultaneously search 11 major health databases across the globe for up-to-date information on what new medicines, devices and diagnostics are on the horizon.

Find out more about ScanMedicine

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.

Patient cohorts

Access to patient cohorts

NIHR BioResource

The NIHR BioResource is a panel of over 200,000 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 study participants by enabling access to potential participants who have been characterised by genotype and 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).

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  collection, processing, storage and analysis of biological samples from biomedical research.

Find out more about the NIHR Biosample Centre.

MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre

The MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre has world-class metabolic profiling techniques for advancing academic and clinical research in personalised medicine, diagnostics and nutrition.

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.