CRF research partners

Our research partners

Our collaborative partnerships benefit both investigators and patients, helping us to improve care for the wider population. We have a track record of working closely with clinical, academic, charitable and industry organisations with a common goal of driving innovation and developing new treatments and technologies.

UCL Partners

Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, which hosts the NIHR Royal Free CRF, is a founder member of UCL Partners - one of seven accredited academic health science centres in the UK. UCL Partners includes NHS providers and universities, and promotes research, innovation and education to improve population health for more than six million people served by the partnership.

University College London (UCL)

UCL is one of the leading universities in the world, ranked eighth in the 2023 QS World University Rankings. Many of our CRF investigators are UCL clinical academics or collaborate closely with UCL’s outstanding biomedical research laboratories. Priority areas include organ failure and transplantation, cancer, liver and kidney disease, immunity, inflammation, and rare diseases. 

UCL has four affiliated NIHR CRFs: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Royal Free London, and University College London Hospital CRFs. Collaboration across the four CRFs will be central to achieving our common goals for our local communities in north central London. 

The National Amyloidosis Centre 

UCL’s National Amyloidosis Centre (NAC) is situated at the Royal Free Hospital close to the CRF. It is the only centre in the UK specialising in amyloidosis and is part of UCL’s Centre for Amyloidosis and Acute Phase Proteins, one of the world’s leading centres for amyloid research. The centre has state-of-the-art clinical and research facilities, including dedicated single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and cardiac MRI machines, and is staffed by a team of highly qualified clinical, research and support staff. The Royal Free CRF and NAC collaboration will see an expansion in the number of early phase clinical trials conducted into this rare disease.

UCL Experimental Medicine Cancer Centre (ECMC)

The ECMC network was launched in 2007 through a joint investment from Cancer Research UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) in England and the health departments for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The ECMC network aims to assist in the delivery of early-phase cancer studies between research partners to enable faster and more personalised patient benefits. Through collaboration and teamwork within the community, the ECMC brings together world-leading laboratory and patient-based clinical research to build a UK-wide network of clinicians and scientists.

UCL hosts one of the 18 adult ECMCs in the UK. Studies developed and supported by the UCL ECMC are delivered in the NIHR Royal Free CRF.

The Institute for Immunity and Transplantation (IIT)

Housed in the recently opened Pears building, the IIT is one of the largest patient-focused immunology research centres in Europe, and one of only a handful in the world. The building was the result of a partnership between UCL, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Free Charity, with the vision of delivering world class research, helping to develop better treatments for diseases including cancer, diabetes, HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis, as well as new therapies to stop transplant rejection. Discoveries made at the Pears building will translate to first-in-human clinical trials for patients in the NIHR Royal Free CRF. Our co-location on the Royal Free campus and close integration also presents unique opportunities for training the next generation of clinician scientists. 

The top two floors of the Pears building provide outstanding hotel-style patient accommodation for those participating in clinical trials. 

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Royal Free Charity

The Royal Free Charity has been a key partner for the CRF having enabled pump prime funding to establish the facility. 

As a solution-focused strategic partner to the Royal Free London, the charity is committed to fostering the right conditions for lifesaving and life-changing research. 

The charity’s support for the RFL research community ranges from its small grants programme and PhD scheme through to delivering major capital funding appeals such as the Pears building project, a triumphant partnership of philanthropy and clinical excellence. 

The UKCRF Network

The UK Clinical Research Facility (UKCRF) Network was established in 2008 and is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and the Chief Scientist Office of Scotland.

The UKCRF Network collaborates with CRFs and other experimental medicine infrastructure across the UK and Ireland to develop, share and implement excellence in operational practice to ensure the efficient and effective delivery of studies, and drive forward initiatives that improve quality of patient experience.

In partnership with all relevant stakeholders the Network promotes the UK as the place for broader investment in and economic growth from health research.

The NIHR Royal Free CRF is an active member of the UKCRF Network with individuals holding Network leadership roles and membership of Network work groups.