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NHS Research - Do I need sponsorship approval?

Group discussion

All research carried out within the NHS or social care, including using NHS or social care premises, facilities or equipment or involving NHS or social care patients or staff or their data will require a research sponsor in accordance with the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research (2017). This includes all studies requiring NHS Research Ethics Committee approval and/or HRA (Health Research Authority) approval, applied for via IRAS (Integrated Research Application Service).

A flowchart showing the required approvals for different study types is available hereLink opens in a new window.

In addition, all trials involving an Investigational Medicinal Product (IMP) will require a research sponsor under the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004.

University sponsorship approval will also be required for clinical trials carried out outside the UK to ensure the appropriate sponsor oversight on behalf of the University, ensuring compliance with sponsor responsibilities and other applicable legislative requirements.

The UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research (2017)Link opens in a new window states that “The sponsor is the individual, organisation or partnership that takes on overall responsibility for proportionate, effective arrangements being in place to set up, run and report a research project”.

In the case of student research requiring the University to act as sponsor or co-sponsor, the student’s supervisor will be expected to act as Chief Investigator of the study.

Some general principles of University sponsorship are set out in detail in the University Sponsorship and Oversight Policy, available hereLink opens in a new window.

Please contact the Research Governance Team via if you require further information.