Accessing study support and advice services

Last updated on 19 Dec 2022

There is a range of support to help you as you develop your research, whatever the type of study and wherever it’s taking place in the UK. This page covers services in England, along with UK-wide guidance and links to the services available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Before you start

Is it research? Use this tool to check whether your project is categorised as research. If it is a research project, see our sections below for the study support available to you.

Commercially sponsored studies involving the NHS/HSC

In England, commercial sponsors can request support from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Study Support Service for the life sciences industry. Visit this webpage to check if your study is eligible for support and to contact the NIHR’s industry team. The NIHR works with colleagues in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland to enable a smooth and quick research delivery experience across the UK.

Non-commercially sponsored studies involving the NHS/HSC

For non-commercial studies, support is led within each nation and the process may be different depending on which nation is leading and which are participating. Visit the NIHR CRN Portfolio webpage for more information.

Nation Specific Guidance


The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) offers a range of services designed to help you plan, place and perform your research.

For studies eligible for inclusion on the NIHR CRN Portfolio, the NIHR will work with you, Research and Development (R&D) offices, funders and other stakeholders to deliver your study to time and target.

For more information and to check if your non-commercial study is eligible for CRN support, visit the NIHR Run your study webpage.

Applying for NIHR CRN support

If you would like to run your study through the NIHR CRN, you should contact the relevant local network as early as possible. They can tell you more about the support available and give up to date advice on how to run your project efficiently.

For Clinical Trials of Investigational Medical Products (CTIMPs) and combined trials of an investigational medicinal product and an investigational medical device (IMP/Device trials), applicants must apply for NIHR CRN support and inclusion on the NIHR CRN Portfolio through the Non-commercial Portfolio Application service in CPMS.

For all other study types, applications for inclusion on the NIHR CRN Portfolio can be made by completing the relevant questions on the IRAS Project Filter page. Once submitted, information from your IRAS Form is automatically shared with the NIHR CRN for review.

Northern Ireland

Guidance on conducting research in Northern Ireland is available on the HSC R&D Division Northern Ireland website.


NHS Research Scotland provides advice and support on conducting research in Scotland.


Health Care Research Wales provides advice and support on conducting research in Wales.

We always recommend you contact the lead NHS research and development office for advice on setting up your study.

Toolkits and Decision Tools for UK based research

When you’re ready to complete your application in IRAS, there is guidance to help you alongside the IRAS questions and in our Help sections.

Toolkits and Decision Tools

Clinical Trials Toolkit. For advice on designing and conducting publicly funded clinical trials in the UK.

Experimental Medicine Toolkit. Advice and support for a range of interventional research types.

Regulatory Advice Service for Regenerative Medicine. Offers a single point of access to free, clear and expert responses to queries about the regulation of regenerative medicines.

Consent and Participant Information Guidance. Advice on preparing your Participant Information Sheet (PIS) and consent form

Student Research Toolkit. Students and their supervisors should use this toolkit before proceeding with their application.

Do I need NHS REC approval? This tool will help you work out whether your study needs approval from an NHS REC. You can print the answer as evidence.

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