The Research Passport

Fishing through imagination
Dr. Varun Sethi

Research within the NHS is often undertaken by NHS staff not directly employed by the host NHS organisation, or by non-NHS staff, particularly researchers employed by universities. The Research Governance Frameworks published by the UK Health Departments require all parties undertaking research within the NHS to be clear about responsibilities and liabilities.

In response, the UK Health Departments have coordinated the development of a good practice resource pack to help the NHS and other research employers take a consistent approach to handling HR arrangements for those undertaking research in the NHS. This approach is called the Research in the NHS - HR Good Practice Resource Pack.   

The NHS - HR Good Practice Resource Pack consists of:

  • a Research Passport system for HEI researchers who need to undertake their research within NHS organisations; and
  • standardised procedures for issuing Honorary Research Contracts (HRCs) or Letters of Access (LoAs), in line with the nature of the researchers' activity, and
  • the NHS and / or employer's responsibility for that activity
  • standardised procedures for handling HR arrangements for NHS and HEIs researchers who need to work across one or more NHS organisations

This system eliminates the need for multiple Occupational Health and Criminal Record Bureau checks. This enables researchers to carry out research across several sites.

UCL, UCLH and the Royal Free have adopted the National Research Passport system. The Joint Research Office can issue research honorary contracts and Letters of Access for eligible investigators wishing to conduct research at UCLH or at the Royal Free Hampstead.

When you submit your research project for NHS Permission to the Joint Research Office, you will be advised on the type of contract or access you need. This will be based upon the type of research you are planning to carry out. You will then be provided with the required paperwork.

Key Contacts

Should you wish to receive the paperwork in advance of the submission for NHS Permission, or have any queries please email the office at JRO.Communications@uclh.nhs.uk

If you are a UCL student or academic, please also refer to http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/passport.php for local information on obtaining the required checks for your research passport application.

Further information about the Research Passport Pack can be found at: http://www.nihr.ac.uk/systems/Pages/systems_research_passports.aspx

Details of the Government Disclosure and Barring Service can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/disclosure-and-barring-service-update-service-now-available