A Research Passport is the mechanism for non-NHS staff to obtain an Honorary Research Contract or Letter of Access (LOA) when they propose to carry out research in the NHS. This replaces the previous Honorary Research Contract process. The Research Passport system provides:
- one set of checks on a researcher conducting research in the NHS
- one standard form completed by the researcher and his/her employer, and validated by an NHS organisation
- a completed Research Passport which is presented to all the relevant NHS organisations
- faster study start-up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who needs a Research Passport?
A Research Passport is required for University of Cambridge employees, students or visitors who need to undertake research which will typically require:
- access to NHS patients and/or
- access to NHS premises and/or
- access to NHS patient data, tissues or organs and/or
- will have a direct impact on patient care.
Once the Research Passport application is complete and processed it will result in the researcher being issued with either an Honorary Research Contract (HRC) or Letter of Access (LoA).
Who doesn’t need a Research Passport?
You don’t need a Research Passport if you have a contractual relationship with the NHS or fall into any of the following categories:
- If you have an honorary clinical contract with an NHS Trust e.g. clinical academics/researchers. In this situation if you wanted to carry out research in another NHS Trust you would need to apply to their Research and Development (R&D) department directly for a Letter of Access.
- If you are employed by an NHS organisation.
- If you are a student on a healthcare placement.
If you are still unsure as to whether a Research Passport is needed, please contact the R&D office at the Trust where the research will be carried out for clarification.
What does the form look like and how do I complete it?
Download the Research Passport Form, Research Passport Checklist and NIHR Guide to completing the Research Passport form documents at the bottom of the page.
- Researcher completes sections 1-3.
- Their Line Manager/Supervisor completes section 4.
- For applications from staff, section 5 must be signed by a designated person within the HR department. For student applications, this section should be signed by a designated person from the academic registry.
- Employers must provide the contract end dates for any employees whose contract end-date falls before the end of a three year passport.
- Once signed off by HR, return to researcher to complete Section 6 and take to the Trust for approval.
Please note that you can only start work in the NHS Trust once an Honorary Research Contract (HRC) or Letter of Access (LoA) has been issued – the completed passport application is not itself permission to work in a NHS Trust.
What information do we need from the researcher?
- ID with Photograph (in addition to their Right to Work – RTW)
- Proof of Address (although address ID is not mentioned on the Research Passport application form, it is essential that this is provided to enable HR to sign off the application form as complete)
- 2 references
- Right to work in the UK
- Evidence of current professional registration (if applicable)
- Evidence of qualifications (if applicable)
- Occupational health clearance (if applicable)
- DBS certificate details (if applicable).
What pre-engagement checks do I need?
Download the pre engagement checks document at the bottom of this page for more information.
How do I get Section 5 signed off by HR?
- Once you have completed your application form, please liaise with your Departmental Administrator or HR Coordinator to ensure it is complete and the required supporting documents are attached.
- The Departmental Administrator will then liaise with the appropriate member of the HR Staff Hub to have section 5 of the application signed off and ready to submit to the relevant Trust.
- This can be submitted via the Research Passport Submission Form.
How do I get Trust approval?
Once the Research Passport has been completed and signed off in Section 5, the Research Passport, along with the documents in Section 6, should be sent to the relevant NHS Trust. Details of the Trust contacts can be found below.
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Addenbrooke’s Hospital):
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Addenbrooke’s) have drop in sessions at Barton House, Level 4, Flat 42, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, every Tuesday 1pm-3:30pm and Friday 8am-1pm.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust (CPFT):
Mary-Beth Sherwood, Research Governance Coordinator
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG):
Viv Shaw, R&D Manager