Getting Approval for Research

Through the establishment of the Health Research Authority, no research is allowed to begin in the NHS unless it has received HRA Approval, and usually, “confirmation of capacity and capability” from the host Trust.

This is to ensure that all research is fully compliant with the key principles of the UK Policy Framework for Research in Health and Social Care (2017), and to provide assurance to the public, and to staff, that any research you have the opportunity to take part in, is conducted to the highest ethical and regulatory standards.

HRA Approval usually includes a fully independent ethical review by an accredited Ethics Committee, and for those studies that do not require an NHS Research Ethics Committee, there is an ethical review commensurate with the risks involved in the study.


“Confirmation of Capacity and Capability”, is the key function of an NHS R&D Office, and is only granted once a study has been reviewed for local feasibility and the “assess, arrange and confirm” process, such that any contracts between Research Sponsor and Site can be signed. This is to ensure that only research that is feasible to do takes place, and that all applicabel targets (leading to robust evidence), are met.