What approvals are required?

What approvals are required?

In order to undertake research in the NHS in England or Wales you need to obtain Health Research Authority (HRA) and/or Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW) Approval. Separate approvals are necessary in Scotland and Northern Ireland, you can find further information here: NHS/HSC R&D Permissions

HRA/HCRW Approval brings together the assessment of governance and legal compliance, undertaken by dedicated HRA staff, and independent ethical opinion (where required) by a Research Ethics Committee (REC).You only need to submit one application via the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS).


When should I apply for HRA/HCRW Approval?

    • Where the lead NHS R&D Office is in England or Wales
    • Where project is classed as research (see if your project is Research, service evaluation or audit), except when it falls under “research tissue banks” and “research databases” when only ethical review applies.
    • Where NHS premises and/or NHS patients and/or NHS staff in England and/or Wales are participating in the research.

Support with IRAS Applications

Some top tips on how to write and submit your application for HRA/HCRW Approval can be found under 'tips for a successful application'.

Visit the HRA 'planning and improving research' section to ensure your application is 'right first time'.

The R&D Office at South Norfolk CCG can also provide advice and guidance on applying through IRAS if your study will be taking place in Primary or Community Care in the Eastern Region.

Please ensure that your IRAS application includes the relevant site(s) where your study will be taking place in Part C of the IRAS form – please contact us for more guidance.

Local Confirmation of Capacity and Capability

When HRA/HCRW Approval is in place, depending on the study type and HRA assessment, the local organisation(s) undertaking your study will need to confirm capability and capacity to undertake your research. The R&D office will assist with the confirmation of local capacity and capability when required. Please note, you will not be able to start your study at the site(s) if local capacity and capability is required and its confirmation is pending.

This diagram that shows the steps in the HRA/HCRW Approval process.


Make sure that you keep the local R&D and sites updated throughout the approval process. Should you have any questions on HRA/HCRW Approval processes and confirmation of local arrangements please contact us at SNCCG.RandDoffice@nhs.net.

Should you wish to make an amendment to the study after HRA/HCRW Approval has been granted please click here.