The new student research eligibility criteria encourages innovative approaches to student research like group research, mock Research Ethics Committees (REC) or shadowing a range of people in an existing project.
- Undergraduate level: Health and social care research applications from students working at undergraduate level are no longer being accepted for Research Ethics Committee (REC) review; HRA and HCRW Approval; and/or Research and Development (R&D) study-wide review in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- Master's level: Applicants should complete the student research toolkit (see below) in the first instance, to check eligibility. Some health and social care research applications from students working at master's level are no longer being accepted for Research Ethics Committee (REC) review; Health Research Authority and Health and Care Research Wales (HRA and HCRW) Approval; and/or R&D study-wide review in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- Doctorate level: Applicants are eligible to complete health and social care research, subject to relevant approvals being in place. Applicants may find it useful to complete parts of the toolkit to understand if HRA and HCRW Approval (or equivalent in Northern Ireland and Scotland) and/or NHS Research ethics review is required.
Student research toolkit
Students and their supervisors will need to use the student research toolkit before proceeding with their IRAS (Integrated Research Application System) application. For eligible student research, there may be a supplementary declaration form that needs to be completed before being able to submit an application through IRAS. You’ll be directed to the relevant declaration form by completing the toolkit. The declaration form should be uploaded in IRAS as a supporting document, alongside the rest of the IRAS application.
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 to guide the student through to the outcome for them and the research they wish to carry out.
The toolkit provides access to five different decision trees providing answers to the following questions:
- is my study research?
- is my research taking place in the NHS and will need NHS approval?
- do I need NHS Research Ethics Committee (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 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 student eligibility criteria.
Find out more about student research from the HRA here.