Applying for approvals

This section will provide you with information about how to prepare and submit applications to review bodies. The Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) is a single online system for applying for permissions and approvals for health and social care/community research in the UK.

The guidance within this area assumes that you:

Please use the menu on the left to work through the pages in this section.

Top tips for using IRAS

  • IRAS contains extensive guidance to support researchers in completing their application form, including question-specific guidance that can be accessed by clicking the  buttons.
  • New or infrequent users are strongly advised to use the free e-learning module to familiarise themselves with the application process, layout, functionality and navigation available in IRAS.
  • The dataset and application forms generated for your project depend on how you complete the project filter in IRAS. Therefore you should ensure you refer to the guidance provided and answer all the questions in the filter before proceeding.
  • IRAS includes functionality that allows declarations to be electronically authorised. This can speed up the process of collecting authorisations. However, you should be aware that those authorising must have an IRAS account. Please refer to the guidance provided in IRAS.
  • Please read the instructions in IRAS about submitting your applications carefully. Delays are frequently caused by incomplete applications so please make sure you have assembled your application in accordance with the guidance.

Before you submit

  • the application form must be complete
  • you must obtain the relevant authorisations
  • you must also have all of the supporting documentation together, as outlined in the relevant application form checklist
  • check that all documents have version numbers and dates (except where indicated on checklist)

Please take careful note of instructions in IRAS about how to submit your application, including specific instructions about posting hard copies where relevant.

We recommend that you apply for the relevant approvals for your project in parallel. It is not necessary to wait for ethical approval before contacting research sites, and doing these activities sequentially will delay the start-up of your project. The right training for you and your research team will help you to deliver your project efficiently and effectively.

If you need to make any changes to information or documents in the course of the review process, it is important that you share this information with all the bodies that are reviewing your study. Please seek advice from them on whether you will need to resubmit a form or respond to issues in correspondence.

The next section provides more detail about navigating the review process.