Research Community

If your study is led from England and involves the NHS in England, you should now use HRA Approval.

In this section, we provide guidance for applicants and the research community for the full research pathway, from initial study idea to publication and dissemination of results at the end of a study.

Information for Principal Investigators who are leading projects at individual sites is at the bottom of this page.

The regulation of health research provides participants with assurance that the research that they take part in is of high quality, safe and ethical. It also ensures that the results of research can be relied on and used as evidence to inform future decisions about healthcare and treatment.

The UK has a range of bodies which have roles in regulating different aspects of health research in humans. The Health Research Authority provides Research Ethics Committees and the Confidentiality Advisory Group, which review applications to undertake certain types of research. We also work with other bodies to coordinate the overall system for regulation and governance of research.

Regulatory bodies have legal responsibilities to approve, licence or inspect particular research activities. In addition, research sites have responsibilities to manage research they host. This website will help you determine what regulatory oversight is relevant to your research and how to work with research sites.

This section is organised by the key stages in the research pathway:

In addition to providing guidance, these sections will also signpost you to further sources of information, including other relevant organisations and to providers of local support and advice. The links below take you to useful sources of help.

Improving health research

Find out how we are working with others to improve the environment for research in the UK.

HRA plans and projects

Prepare your Application

IRAS is the online system for applying for approvals.

IRAS - online applications

Looking for guidance?

Our resources page takes you directly to detailed guidance and points you to sources of advice.


Need help to decide?

Our decision tools help you get the answer to common questions.

Decision Tools

Need advice?

Our queries line can provide advice about applying for approvals.

Contact the queries line

Apply to HRA.

Applying for a review from a Research Ethics Committee or Confidentiality Advisory Group.

Our committees

Principal Investigators

The majority of information in the website is of relevance to Chief Investigators and sponsors with oversight of a whole study. If you are a Principal Investigator at a research site or part of a local research team recruiting participants then there is specific information that is relevant to you.