NIHR Clinical Research Network

Communications strategy and change management

Support through the storm of restructuring

The NIHR’s Clinical Research Network (CRN) provides the infrastructure which enables crucial research in the NHS.

Our mission

We were tasked with supporting the organisation at a time of major restructuring, with 35 local CRNs being reduced to 15, and a consolidation of seven CRN coordinating centres (CRNCCs) to one overarching facility.

This was ahead of a tendering process by the Department of Health for a new consortium to host a streamlined CRNCC from 2015 to 2020.


We initially supported the CEO in his communications to employees during the restructuring and tendering process.

We also assisted in writing the communications elements of the bid and explaining how communications should be run in the new order.

Once a consortium had won the contract, we set out a five-year communications strategy for the new, single coordinating centre and its 15 regional subsidiaries.


  • The CRNCC was successful in its bid for funding
  • Our client retained vital staff needed to successfully take it into the new contract, despite the impact of uncertainty caused by the restructuring
  • It was able to make informed and ultimately successful decisions which were pivotal to its future
  • We oversaw the implementation of the strategy and the management of the internal teams and supported the recruitment of a new stakeholder engagement and communications director

“Among many other achievements for us, Admiral consulted with our stakeholders, created our communications strategy and gained Department for Health approval, significantly helping us secure our business for a further five years and in doing so, paved the way for a stronger, better communications approach for the network.

They are highly professional powerful influencers at all levels who understand the importance of building relationships and trust and, while doing so, quickly became part of the team.”

CEO, NIHR Clinical Research Network