Applying for approvals

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

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 is mandatory for some applications and 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 electronic authorisation guidance provided in IRAS.
  • Ensure your application form is complete, that you have prepared all necessary supporting documents (as outlined in the checklist) and that you have met any specific requirements (e.g. electronic authorisation of declarations).
  • Please carefully follow the instructions provided in IRAS about submitting your applications. Review bodies have specific submission procedures, for example requiring booking and/or electronic submission.

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.