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Research: why, what and how?

Research - why?

Research at Oxford University Hospitals plays a vital role in tackling the biggest healthcare challenges of the 21st century and improves the care we offer patients. Research is a fundamental, but often unseen, part of the Trust's work.

Oxford University Hospitals serves a regional population of approximately 2.5 million people and we have more than one million patient contacts each year. Each treatment, assessment or operation we give has its roots in research.

Our investment in research, both highly skilled people and world-class facilities, will allow us to build a better and more efficient health service, able to respond to whatever challenges we face in the future.

Find a research trial

Clinical research studies - Oxford University Hospitals

To volunteer for studies in other parts of the country, including mental health and in the community, visit:

Be Part of Research


Our research portfolio addresses major healthcare challenges, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes, through to much less common disorders and conditions.

The Trust is also trialling new surgical techniques and technologies to improve treatment. We are pioneering the use of mobile devices and digital technologies to enhance services and allow patients to monitor conditions in their own home.

Our research activity is growing at a significant rate. The number of active research projects has doubled since 2008 to more than 1,300, and we are one of the leading Trusts in the county in terms of the number of patients taking part in research studies.

Our research is built on patient involvement and participation - we need your help to guide what research we do and how we do it, and to take part in trials and other studies. Without this, much of this vital research could not happen.


Research is integrated with our clinical care and carried out in partnership with world leading academic partners at the University of Oxford's Medical Sciences Division and Oxford Brookes University's Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, other NHS trusts, including Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and commercial partners.

A key component of our research is through the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), a partnership between the University of Oxford and the Trust to fund and support medical research. More than £150m has been invested in medical research by the BRC since 2007 in areas such as diabetes, cancer and surgery.

Follow NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) on Facebook

You may be offered the opportunity to join a research study by your doctor as part of your care. Many studies are observational, which means patient data that is already routinely collected, such as blood pressure readings or scan images, are made available to researchers. Other studies may require you to have additional tests or increased monitoring. We also trial new treatments and therapies, which may be offered to you by your doctor if it is appropriate.

All our studies have ethical approval and adhere to rigorous governance procedures. Patient recruitment to studies is carried out by an informed consent process.

We also recruit 'healthy volunteers' to take part in studies.


Updated June 2021

Would you like to be involved with helping develop treatments that improve the lives of patients with bone, muscle and joint problems?

Oxford Patient Engagement Network for Arthritis (OPEN ARMS) is a group of patients, family members, carers and public members (patient partners). We work with medical researchers from the University of Oxford to help them develop, carry out and communicate their research.

We are looking for around seven patient partners to work with medical researchers on our committee.

We hold regular 'Meet the Researcher' talks, which are an opportunity to hear from our researchers and learn about conditions and new research ideas, and ask questions.

If you are interested in hearing more about these sessions or would like to be added to our mailing list, please email Louise at

NIVO COPD Research Study

Update June 2019

The NIVO Study, partly conducted in this Trust, looked at what happened to patients admitted to hospital with COPD.

The organisers have requested the following information relating to data in this study is publicised.

NIVO Study update (pdf, 757 KB)

For more details please email:

Further information

For more information about research trials at Oxford University Hospitals, ask your doctor or view studies that are currently recruiting.

Reasons to get involved in medical research

Duration: 2 minutes and 28 seconds

Research events for the public

For upcoming free research talks and events, please see 'Events'

Last reviewed:08 June 2023