HRA Approval Process

HRA Approval is the only route for approval of research within the NHS 

The Health Research Authority (HRA) Approval brings together the assessment of governance and legal compliance for the NHS in England, with independent research ethics REC opinion provided through the UK Health Department’s Research Ethics Service.

HRA Approval applies only to the NHS in England. Any studies led from Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales should apply using the existing systems in each nation. If English sites are involved, the national R&D coordinating function of the lead nation will share information with the HRA Assessment team, who can issue HRA Approval for English sites and thereby retain existing compatibility arrangements. HRA Approval does not apply to Research Tissue Banks, Research Databases and studies taking place only in non-NHS sites.

Please see the HRA website for more details on:

  • Planning & improving research (including training resources)
  • Approvals & amendments
  • Governance arrangements for Research Ethics Committees.

NHS research sites in England are asked to note that applicants from the devolved administrations may not be familiar with HRA Approval arrangements for site set-up and may still transfer SSI (Site Specific Information) Forms to sites.

The R&D department can assist you or you can contact the HRA directly.

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