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National Contract Value Review


The National Contract Value Review (NCVR) is a standardised, national approach to costing for commercial contract research.

From 1 October 2022 all new eligible commercial research proposals submitted for a study resource review will enter into the NCVR process.  Eligible studies are those commercial studies which will be conducted in acute, specialist and mental health Trusts and their counterparts across the NHS, with the exception of phase I – IIa and advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP) studies and primary care settings.

NCVR is a UK-wide vision, endorsed by the four nations policy leads group (Health Research Authority, Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland, Chief Scientist Office in Scotland and NHS Research Scotland and the Welsh Government and Health and Care Research Wales). The NCVR programme aims to make it easier and faster to set-up commercial trials in the UK. It is being delivered as part of the cross-sector Recovery Resilience and Growth programme which aims to deliver the UK Government’s research vision published in March 2021, Saving and Improving Lives: The Future of UK Research Delivery strategy.

NCVR focuses on resource agreement during set-up and sits alongside other programmes that are focused on resetting the research portfolio as we move beyond the pandemic. These research programmes have a common goal of revitalising the research in the NHS/HSC and ensuring clinical research continues to thrive in the UK for the benefit of patients and the public.  

The introduction of the National Contract Value Review process will bring about several benefits:

  • A new, standardised, national approach to costing for commercial contract research improving consistency in study set-up and making it easier to conduct research.
  • Increasing the speed and efficiency of research set up to increase the capacity for more research in the NHS.
  • A transparent ‘no surprises’ approach to contract value negotiations between commercial research sponsors and NHS study sites.
  • Builds on local expertise to establish a national process for defining and allocating resource and procedure requirements.
  • By simplifying and improving research arrangements, we can speed up access to new treatments and support patients to receive the best care.

A staged approach to implementing NCVR is being taken. The first stage began in April 2022.  Stage one of the NCVR implementation has two core elements:

  • Data collection to identify which UK NHS organisations have committed to apply the local prices as generated by the standard costing methodology and which may continue to apply their own prices to the resource needs agreed by the national negotiation. The information on adherence will be made available to companies prior to site selection within the iCT tariff workbook
  • From October 2022 all eligible commercial study interactive costing tools submitted for a study resource review are included in the National Contract Value Review Process. They will be assigned to a NCVR contract value review coordinator and will be subject to a single, national negotiation. This will involve assessment of the consistency of the research study protocol activities and the completed interactive costing tool, together with the negotiation of the resource required to deliver the protocol at any UK-based NHS location. NCVR contract value review coordinators will carry out the review. For studies led from Northern Ireland, the NIHR staff will undertake the expert cost review on behalf of NI, in collaboration with the chief investigator and sponsors.

Detailed operational/technical information on Stage One of NCVR Implementation including detailed requirements for NHS study site can be found on NHS England’s website national contract value review – operational details web page

The final NCVR process will be informed by learning from stage one and the final product will include:

  • NHS organisation specific prices made available to commercial companies prior to site selection,
  • Costs will be transparent.  A single national negotiation of study costs will take place with no local negotiation.

Commercial contract research using unmodified model site agreement and standard costing methodology, including the use of the interactive costing tool (iCT), will help to bring about efficiency of resources and to support delivery of studies at sites in Northern Ireland. We will continue to work with our UK colleagues to implement a national contract value review process as part of the UK NCVR programme of work, whilst we develop our local plans to establish a central governance review function in Northern Ireland.

There will be reciprocal recognition of Contract Value Reviews conducted by NHS organisations across the UK.  In the meantime, for any queries please email: -


Resource Links –

Guidance has been produced to provide supporting information for the various users, and include infographics, FAQs and video tutorials.  For further information see User resources for the interactive Costing Tool and the role of iCT in supporting NCVR