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Research passport

Last updated on 29 May 2019
The Research Passport forms part of the HR Good Practice Resource Pack which contains information and documentation to support the process for handling HR arrangements for researchers, and provides a streamlined approach for confirming details of the pre-engagement checks they have undergone with the NHS/HSC. For information and resources please visit the IRAS website.

What is a research passport and who needs one?

A research passport is the mechanism for non-NHS staff to obtain an Honorary Research Contract or Letter of Access (LOA) when they propose to carry out research in the NHS. 

 The research passport system provides:

  • one set of checks on a researcher conducting research in the NHS;
  • one standard form completed by the researcher and his/her employer, and validated by an NHS organisation;
  • a completed Research Passport which is presented to all the relevant NHS organisations; and
  • faster study start-up.

You will not need a research passport if:

  • you are employed by an NHS organisation;
  • you are an independent contractor (e.g. GP) or employed by an independent contractor; 
  • you have an honorary clinical contract with an NHS Trust e.g. clinical academics. In this situation if you wanted to research in another NHS Trust you would need to apply to their research and development (R&D) department directly for a Letter of Access; or
  • you are a student on a healthcare placement.


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