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The JRO supports researchers with 2 types of ‘approval’ - sponsorship and NHS permission.


Research studies, falling within the scope of the Research Governance Framework and Medicines for Human Use Regulations, will require a sponsor. Sponsorship is usually the first stage in the approval process for a study, and will need to be confirmed before seeking ethical opinion.

The Research Governance Framework defines the role of the sponsor as taking on ’a responsibility for confirming there are proper arrangements to initiate, manage and monitor, and finance a study'.

Research studies (including student studies) originating from UCL, UCLH or Royal Free will require a sponsor.

Who will sponsor my study?

Studies will be sponsored by 1 of 3 organisations; either UCLH, the Royal Free London or UCL. Which organisation  will sponsor your study depends on the type of study and who employs you. The JRO approval teams will help you to determine which organisation should be the sponsor and will help you to complete the sponsorship documents.

What is the process for getting a study sponsored?

If your study is a clinical trial of a medicinal product, you should contact the JRO Clinical Trials Team and refer to their guidance.

For all other studies, please follow the flowchart instructions:

NHS Permission

For studies taking place within the NHS and involving human participants (or their tissue, organs or data), permission from the host NHS organisation is required. This is referred to as NHS Permission (previously known as R&D approval).

The Joint Research Office will help you in obtaining an NHS permission for all studies taking place (regardless of the sponsor), within UCLH and the Royal Free.

What is the process for NHS permission?

For commercially sponsored research studies, the process for obtaining NHS permission is outlined on the relevant pages.

For studies sponsored by non-commercial organisations, the process for obtaining NHS permission is outlined within the flowchart:

For these studies, please also refer to the submission requirements as per the checklists:

Help with IRAS applications

For guidance on how to complete your IRAS application for UCL sponsored research please see the relevant guidance in the SOP section of the website.