OU researchers wishing to carry out health and social care research in England may need to submit an application for ethics review to the Health Research Authority (HRA).
You can assess whether your research will need approval from an NHS Research Ethics Committee (REC) using the decision tool provided on the HRA website.
Where a project is solely audit or a service/therapy evaluation, it will not require ethical review by the HRA Research Ethics Service. However, such activities would still require OU HREC review if they involve collecting data from or about people.
Research ethics applications are submitted to the HRA using the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS).
The IRAS online guide provides guidance about the application process, as does the step by step guide to using IRAS to apply to conduct research in or through the NHS/HSC.
The IRAS application must be reviewed by HREC, and then signed off electronically by the OU research sponsor, before it can be submitted to the HRA. Professor Kevin Hetherington, Pro-Vice-Chancellor - Research, Enterprise and Scholarship, is the named OU sponsor for IRAS applications.
When HRA approval has been obtained, you should send a final copy of the IRAS application form and evidence of HRA favourable opinion to the Human Research Ethics team.
Non-NHS staff who intend to carry out research on an NHS site are advised to obtain a Research Passport and an honorary NHS contract. The OU contact for guidance on applying for a Research Passport is Angela Lees from the OU Human Resources Department (People Services). Angela Lees will also be able to initiate a DBS check which is required for research passports and honorary contracts. The Research and Development (R&D) Department will be the most appropriate first point of contact for research queries.
The INVOLVE online resource provides researchers with useful guidance on how to involve members of the public in NHS public health and social care research.