A specialist centre for world-leading studies

At the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Royal Free Clinical Research Facility (CRF), we provide innovative facilities, equipment, and experienced staff to enable early-phase clinical research in healthy adults and patients with acute, complex, and long-term conditions. 

Our purpose-built clinical space is used to develop ground-breaking treatment for a broad range of medical conditions.

NIHR Royal Free Clinical Research Facility


Our research

The NIHR Royal Free CRF plays a crucial role in:

Motif of a cell Developing new treatments for a range of conditions, including cardiovascular, renal, and liver disease as well as rare diseases and cancer. 

Motif of a chromosome Enabling complex studies, such as first-in-human drug trials, gene therapy and the development of novel medical devices and biomarkers.

Cell motif Facilitating collaboration with linked research partners and national centres.

Chromosome motif Involving patients and the public in our research.

Cell motif Ensuring equity of access to meet the needs of our diverse population.


The NIHR Royal Free CRF is part of the NIHR and hosted by the Royal Free London. The NIHR funds, enables and delivers world-leading health and social care research that improves people's health and wellbeing and promotes economic growth.

NIHR Clinical Research Facilities (CRFs) support the delivery of early-phase and complex studies in purpose-built facilities in NHS hospitals. The NIHR has awarded £161 million over five years to 28 facilities across England.

The NIHR Royal Free CRF is funded from multiple sources:

  • The start-up funding for the CRF was generously enabled by the Royal Free Charity. 
  • Direct grant funding from the NIHR to support our research from 2022-2027. 
  • Individual CRF research studies may receive specific funding from charitable or government grants.
  • Some CRF trials are funded by pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Fundraising for the NIHR Royal Free CRF is managed by the Royal Free Charity. If you are interested in supporting the CRF please see the charity's website

If you are interested in working with us or would like to know more about the NIHR Royal Free CRF, please contact us.

By phone

020 7794 0500 ext 32038

By email

The NIHR Royal Free CRF is located on the second floor of the Royal Free Hospital. Read more about how to get to us.

Tim Meyer

Professor Tim Meyer, NIHR Royal Free CRF director

Professor Meyer has overall responsibility for the running of the Clinical Research Facility (CRF). 

He has extensive experience of managing research infrastructure having been director of the North London Cancer Research Network, cancer lead for the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) University College London Hospitals CRF, and director of the University College London Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre.

His main research focus is drug development for hepatocellular carcinoma, and he has a track record of translational laboratory research and early-phase clinical trials.

Kate Blackstone

​Kate Blackstone, NIHR Royal Free CRF general manager 

Kate has worked in clinical research in complex public health organisations in the UK and Australia for more than a decade. 

Her research experience covers administration, ethics, governance, business, operations, and workforce development. 

Kate is a member of the UKCRF Network senior management team, is the deputy lead for the Network’s workforce development theme and is an active member of the Network’s managers’ group.

Nia Voase

​Nia Voase, NIHR Royal Free CRF lead research nurse 

Nia has worked in clinical research since 2005, when she started as the clinical trial co-ordinator for the Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy group based at Imperial College London and Royal Brompton Hospital. 

Her next role involved setting up the Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit as clinical research facility manager in 2010, before becoming its clinical governance manager. 

Nia was the nursing manager at Dasman Diabetes Research Institute in Kuwait before relocating back to the Royal Free Hospital, where she originally trained to take up the position of CRF lead research nurse.

Lucy Southworth

​Lucy Southworth, NIHR Royal Free CRF quality assurance manager 

Lucy has more than 20 years’ experience working in clinical trials at large teaching and district general NHS trusts. 

She has worked within teams hosting and sponsoring clinical research, across both commercial and non-commercial portfolios. 

Her background as a pharmacy technician provides substantial knowledge of the management of Investigational Medicinal Products and the necessary quality management to ensure patient safety and data integrity.

 Lucy is an active member of the UKCRF Network’s quality assurance work group.

More information