Medical research funders commission research when they set out a specific research question and the preferred way to answer it. This allows the funder to direct research into areas of strategic importance, or to create a specific piece of evidence.

Funders of medical research want to support high quality research that is going to make a difference for patients. While most ask researchers to define these areas of research, many funders also set out areas of strategic importance, based on the state of science and the views of patients. 

Commissioned research calls direct researchers to a very specific question and provide a clear description of the work that should be carried out. In this mode of funding, the researcher needs to demonstrate that they have the required skills and that their institution has the necessary infrastructure to carry out the research as the funder requests. You can find out more about commissioned research in this briefing.