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New student research eligibility criteria – live from 1 September

Last updated on 1 Sep 2021

New eligibility criteria for standalone student research went live this week (1 September 2021). These changes are designed to ensure students' experience of research reflects how modern health and social care research is conducted.

The new criteria encourage innovative approaches to student research like group research, mock RECs or shadowing a range of people in an existing project.

The changes mean some master’s students will now be eligible to apply for approval to carry out their research.

To help students plan their research, we have created a new student research toolkit. The toolkit has been designed to pull together the resources a student will need to understand what approvals are required and whether they are eligible to carry out their research in the UK. It contains links to existing decision tools, as well as some new ones developed especially for students. It uses a simple question and answer format and will provide answers to the following questions:

  • is my study research?
  • is my research taking place in the NHS and will it need NHS approval?
  • do I need NHS REC review?
  • what type of NHS ethics review do I need?
  • can I carry out my research?

Completing the tool will provide students with an understanding of what activities they can do and ensures that they do not waste time applying for approval for research that they are not able to carry out under the new student eligibility criteria. Through completion of the toolkit, students can access supplementary declarations that need to be completed by their academic supervisor, confirming that they meet the criteria for the type of approvals they need for their research. There are three separate declarations depending on the approvals needed – the toolkit guides the student to the right one based on their responses.

Further details about the new eligibility criteria can be found on the HRA website.

Please see our question and answer section for further information.

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