National Conference Celebrates Record Attendance in Leicester

Posted by: Jamie Sharp - Posted on:

A remarkable 552 delegates gathered in Leicester for the 19th Annual UK Clinical Research Facility (UKCRF) Network Conference, setting a new attendance record for the national event.  

The conference, which explored how to widen access to medical research to more people in more communities, concluded on 5 July with resounding success. 

Held at Leicester’s Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium, the two-day event brought together national and international experts, doctors, nurses and health practitioners who carry out research as part of their roles.

The event featured sessions from the set-up and delivery of clinical trials, to engaging with under-represented communities. It served as a crucial platform for emphasising the role of patient and public involvement in shaping the future of clinical research. 

Professor Nigel Brunskill, Director of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Leicester Clinical Research Facility (CRF), chaired the conference and welcomed delegates: “We hope you’ll be inspired to put into practise some of the things you learn here today.”  

Richard Mitchell, Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust mentioned Leicester being one the most diverse and inclusive cities in the UK and he added: “If you want to conduct research in a global population, you don’t need to step beyond our city.”  

Keynote speakers included Professor Ivan Browne, Professor of Public Health, and Social Determinants of Health at De Montfort University and Professor Ruth Endacott, NIHR Director of Nursing and Midwifery. 

Dr Roxanne Crosby-Nwaobi, Lead Nurse for Research at Moorfields Eye Hospital, focused on patient and public involvement in clinical research. Her session addressed strategies for ensuring that clinical research opportunities are accessible to all communities.  

Dr Crosby-Nwaobi remarked: “Health research is an act of humanity aiming for health equity, giving hope for the future. As clinical research staff, we should ensure that our patients, families, and communities are able to access research opportunities.” 

Delegates appreciated the numerous opportunities to connect with peers, experts and sponsors, fostering collaboration and preparing for future complex trials. One of the delegates shared with Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetics and Vascular medicine, after his session: “It is good opportunity to network and meet people in real life whose research papers I read and quote in my research.” 

Paul Brown, UKCRF Network Operational Director, said: “This year’s conference set a new benchmark for inclusivity and engagement in clinical research.” 

“With a focus on innovative strategies to overcome barriers, the UKCRF Network is dedicated to continuing these important conversations and driving change in clinical research practices to ensure inclusivity and equal access for all.” 

For more information about the UKCRF Network and future events, please visit our website or contact us at [email protected]


The NIHR Leicester BRC is part of the NIHR and hosted by the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust in partnership with the University of Leicester, Loughborough University and University Hospitals of Northamptonshire NHS Group.

For media enquiries and interview requests, please contact:

Joanna Jones, Science Communications Manager, NIHR Leicester BRC  on 07966 678057 or email [email protected]

Leicester’s Research Registry was launch in May 2021 and will share opportunities to get involved in health research taking place in Leicester’s Hospitals, or being run with their research partners, such as the University of Leicester and Loughborough University, in their National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre, Clinical Research Facility and Patient Recruitment Centre: Leicester.

To sign up to the registry, potential volunteers need to be over 18 years of age, live in the UK, and have a valid email address. You also have the option to select if there are particular areas of health research you are interested in. You will then receive regular updates on all the exciting opportunities to participate in the hospitals’ research.

To sign up, visit You can also visit the dedicated Facebook page.