Dr Matt Cooper


Gained a PhD in molecular virology (1997) and conducted post-doctoral research with the Molecular Medicine Unit at the University of Leeds.
Joined AstraZeneca UK as a Clinical Research Scientist and then Study Manager in their Clinical Studies Group and over the next five years conducted phase II and III studies in a variety of therapy areas.
2003 he came back to academia first establishing a Clinical Trials Unit at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and later became Business Manager for the Musculoskeletal Disease group at the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine.
Joined the National Cancer Research Network in December 2006 as Principle Fellow and in 2009 was promoted to Assistant Director.
Joined NIHR Clinical Research Netqork Coordinating Centre in 2013 as Life Sciences Director and in 2014 took on the role of Business Development & Marketing Director.


  • National Director NIHR CRN CC

Research interests

The National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network is the research delivery arm of the NHS.  It invests some £300m each year into an infrastructure of specially-trained clinical research professionals across England, to support rapid study set-up and patient identification/recruitment into clinical research studies, academic and commercial.  In recent years, the Network has placed a particular focus on its support for the commercial life-sciences industry, which has resulted in year-on-year improvements in patient recruitment numbers and delivery times for industry studies.

In 2017/18 the NIHR CRN supported the recruitment of over 725,000 participants into clinical research studies, 50,112 of these were patients recruited into commercial contract clinical trials.

The five goals for business development are:

1. the NHS is recognised globally as a prime location in which to conduct clinical research;
2. Increase the UK’s share of commercial clinical research activity conducted through the CRN;
3. Demonstrate the value, investment and impact of trials and studies in the CRN Portfolio;
4. Ensure early notice of developments in clinical research in order to anticipate change and adapt to continue to deliver high quality clinical research;
5. Increase the volume and value of non-commercially funded and collaborative clinical research taking place within the CRN.


  • BSc (Hons) Microbiology
  • PhD Virology

Professional memberships

  • Institute of Directors