The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) was established in April 2006 as part of the UK government’s health research strategy and is funded by the Department of Health. Its objectives are to fund high quality research to improve health, to train and support health researchers, to provide world-class research facilities, to work with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all and to involve patients and the public at every step. The NIHR’s commissioned research programmes offer a focused source of funding for researchers within the health system in England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also participate in some of these programmes. The programmes aim to improve patient health and care by providing evidence to inform clinical, social care and public health professionals, NHS managers and where appropriate, policy makers. The goal is to ensure that researchers from all parts of England, and from all areas of healthcare, are able to access appropriate funding to undertake clinical and applied health and social care research, focused on priority areas and topics. NIHR have an Open Access Policy and were one of the original funders of Europe PubMed Central.