Project: NIHR National Patient Recruitment Centre: Newcastle – Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

“This project needed to blend academic insight, real-world pragmatism, and digital savvy expertise and bringing Joanne into the project ensured that this could be delivered.

Joanne’s ethos is to be respectful, open, share knowledge and experience readily. This meant that we were able to bring advanced, technical and digital marketing skills to the client as well as the wider team.

Dr Sarah Bowman, Senior Lecturer – Organisational Communications, Northumbria University


Dolezal Consulting has been working with Dr Sarah Bowman, Prof Yan Yiannakou and the clinical research team at what is now the NIHR Patient Recruitment Centre: Newcastle on a research-led marketing and communications strategy.

This is a novel concept unit focusing on recruiting to late phase commercial trials by reaching out to the local community, rather than recruiting through hospital clinics. It supports the UK Industrial Strategy and has now been selected as one of only five UK late stage research centres.

The initial focus of the project was to help launch the new Phase 3 Clinical Research Unit and kickstart participant recruitment onto late-stage commercial clinical research trials. It required a new approach to recruitment (not from secondary care/clinics). We were initially drawn to the project because of its clear benefit to the local patient population as well as a focus on common, chronic conditions. We could see the merit in improving peoples’ health, wellbeing and quality of life.

This work has allowed us to develop a close working relationship with the research team as well as thorough understanding of the clinical research world. We have undertaken a comprehensive stakeholder analysis, developed relationships in healthcare and research for the Patient Recruitment Centre and developed the digital marketing strategy and campaigns plans.

NIHR National Patient Recruitment Centre Newcastle

We have worked closely with the NIHR (National Institute of Health Research), CRN (Clinical Research Network) and NHS Trust teams to navigate the best communications channels to reach all target audiences, ethically. We have worked with the REC (Research Ethics Committee) and within tight guidelines to create the soft launch and recruitment campaigns (pre- and post-Covid19 closure of the unit).

We have also helped set up and brand social media profiles for the ResearchPlusMe online registry and have trained the PRC: Newcastle team in social media and content marketing.

Together with Dr Bowman, Northumbria University we have developed a comprehensive marketing & communications strategy for the P3 Unit which can be incorporated into the wider PRC strategy.

We have supported the development of a website for the new ResearchPlusMe online registry and new PRC: Newcastle sites. We have worked closely with the clinical research team to understand the target audiences (participants) and the types of messaging and information that will best engage with them, then have created content for all channels.

This is a project with many internal and external stakeholders and we have had to have a strong collaborative style and regular communication.