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Types of Approvals

Before starting a research project, you will need to get 3 approvals. These approvals ensure the study is adequately reviewed, resourced and managed, and that the study has net the ethical and governance checks required by local NHS Trusts and national regulators.

The 3 approvals are:

  1. Sponsorship
  2. Research Ethics and MHRA Approval (if applicable)
  3. NHS Permission

1. Sponsorship

All studies require sponsorship. The Sponsor makes sure the study is adequately initiated, insured, managed and financed. The Sponsor can also take responsibility for monitoring the study. The Sponsor may not always be the funder of the research. The Joint Research Office is able to provide a number of different forms of sponsorship for investigators from UCL, UCLH and the Royal Free.

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:

2. Research Ethics and MHRA Approval

Most studies will require some form of ethical review. Which form will depend on whether or not NHS patients, staff or resources are involved. Where studies involve a Clinical Trial of an Investigational Medicinal Product (CTIMP testing the safety and efficacy of a drug or other product), or the testing of a new device, additional approval may be required from the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA).

3. NHS Permission

Studies conducted in the NHS need what is called NHS Permission which used to be called R&D Approval. The Joint Research Office will assist in, and provide NHS Permission for studies at UCLH and the Royal Free, and advise on how to obtain NHS Permission at other NHS sites.

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.