Our new website is easier to navigate and find information. Click here to visit and give us your feedback.

Who we are

The HRA has been established to promote and protect the interests of patients, streamline regulation and promote transparency in health and social care research. We aim, with partners, to make the UK a great place to do health research, to build confidence and participation and so improve the nation’s health.

We also provide approvals for the processing of confidential information relating to patients through the Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG).

This diagram illustrates where the HRA fits into the health and care system, alongside our partners.

In protecting and promoting the interests of patients, participants and the public in health and social care research, we need to understand their expectations. Our experience so far suggests that they:

  • want and expect a good research base for the care they receive;
  • have an appetite for contributing to it;
  • see the importance of openness and transparency; and
  • value the oversight of Research Ethics Committees in ensuring their interests are protected, while avoiding unnecessary bureaucracy.

In partnership with patients and the public, we have developed a Public Involvement Strategy which informs how we continue to ensure their input into our work.

It is already clear that there is a fundamental link between promoting the public’s interests in health and social research and protecting it, and that these are complementary. Patients, participants and the public share an interest with researchers and sponsors in ensuring good, ethical research is carried out, subject to proportionate regulation. Our role in streamlining the research processes will not only increase opportunities for patients and the public to take part in research, but will also make this country a more attractive place for companies to do research. This investment will, in turn, benefit patients and the public.

The HRA was established by Government in response to a review by the Academy of Medical Sciences of research regulation, as announced in the Government’s Plan for Growth (2011) [pdf, 1.63 MB].

In accordance with the new Care Act provisions of 2014 the HRA was established as a new, statutory Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) as of 1 January 2015.