Survey reveals NHS research and innovation priorities

The findings from a survey to identify local NHS innovation and research needs have been published.

The views of local health stakeholders, including clinical leaders, managers and directors, within each AHSN (Academic Health Science Networks) region were collected through qualitative interviews with 61 people and a questionnaire which received more than 250 responses in total.

The report outlines the national findings from the survey with local health and social care stakeholders. It includes a detailed analysis of the innovation and research needs at local level across all AHSNs.

Regional Statement for the North East and North Cumbria

Whilst there were some differences in regional priorities, common themes emerged which reflected wider challenges facing the NHS and align with the priorities of the NHS Long Term Plan. These include:

  • a need for innovation and research addressing workforce challenges
  • delivery of mental health services and providing care for patients with mental health needs, particularly in children and young people
  • integrating services to provide effective care for patients with complex needs – including multimorbidity and frailty
  • use of digital and artificial intelligence technology

Professor Gary Ford, Chief Executive of Oxford AHSN, led the AHSNs input into the survey. He said: “The survey provides important information on the research and innovation needs of the NHS which  will shape future work of AHSNs and the research community”.

The survey was commissioned by the AHSN Network, in partnership with NHS England and the National Institute for Health Research, to support the publication of a statement of local NHS research and innovation needs for each AHSN region – as one of the actions in the NHS England and NIHR joint paper on ‘12 actions to support research in the NHS’ (

Further regional discussions will now take place, involving patients, the wider public and the research community, to refine the priorities identified. This consultation will lead to each AHSN region publishing a statement of local innovation and research needs.

The survey was conducted by ComRes, an independent research agency.