A-Z research advice


We provide advice and support in the following areas:


It is important to include archiving and data management in your protocol. This will help prevent loss of important data and will help defend the integrity of your research. Funders, host organisations and other bodies have a variety of requirements for data management and you should make yourself familiar with these. You should also consider storage costs when costing your project. The Research Data Service team has been set up to provide specific support in this area. Please read Guidance on the Retention of Research Records and Data‌ for further information.

Adverse event reporting

Any project might encounter an adverse event and it is important that these are dealt with appropriately. We have put together some guidance on adverse events to help you.

Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB)

Work involving certain groups of participants, particularly NHS patients, children and vulnerable adults, will generally require you to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS/CRB) check. For more details on this, please visit the Disclosure and Barring Service website and the Human Resources website. You must also contact the organisation giving you access to the research participants to ensure you meet their requirements for these checks. Human Resources will help with staff DBS/CRB applications and the Faculty Office will help with student DBS/CRB applications.

Data protection

The Secretary's office host information relating to Data Protection and Research and details relating to Transparency wording, for Patient Information Sheets and other study documents. 

If your study involves transcription please visit the Information security webpages.


Research involving human participants, their tissue and/or data should undergo an ethical review.

Grant support

We are able to help researchers at the time of grant writing if a specific section is required to indicate research governance and ethics review arrangements. This is particularly important if the study has complex governance needs e.g. international collaborations, studies with particular insurance / indemnity requirements or studies involving vulnerable groups. In these cases we can work with you to help you establish the Research Governance-related time and cost implications that should be incorporated into your grant application. Please email research-governance@bristol.ac.uk for further information.

The University's Research Development (Funding) team provides expert advice and assistance on obtaining external funding for your research.


Research Governance can advise on matters relating to Research Insurance, particularly for Health or Social-Care Research. You can find more information on the Secretary's Office's Research Insurance page.

You can find suggested answers for the insurance questions in IRAS forms on our IRAS Insurance Guidance page.

You can find guidance on describing research harm and compensation arrangements in participant information on our PIL Insurance Guidance page.

Intellectual property

If you think your research may have commercial value then please visit the webpage of the University's Commercialisation team.

International collaboration

International research will normally be expected to have received ethics approval from a properly constituted and independent ethics committee in the country/ies concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to check the requirements for ethics review in the country/ies concerned or seek advice from its Foreign Office and to make the appropriate applications.

If such review is not available or appropriate then the research, and the reasoning for not obtaining local ethics approval, must be agreed by the University research ethics committee. For some studies it might be necessary to complete a risk assessment; please refer to the risk assessment section below.

For more guidance on making sure you get the right approvals please email research-governance@bristol.ac.uk.


The University currently monitors approximately 10% of active studies via a Service Level Agreement with University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol). It is undertaken in a supportive and constructive way to help ensure the ongoing integrity of a project, including the proper engagement and treatment of research participants. If your study is selected for monitoring you will be notified by the UH Bristol team. Reports are reviewed by the Head of Research Governance who will deal with any issues that might arise. Any recurring issues are incorporated into the University's Research Governance training programme. Please email research-governance@bristol.ac.uk if you have any questions or concerns about monitoring.

Open access publishing

The University supports Open Access Publishing and the principles of Open Research.

Organisational approval

If your research is taking place in a Social Care Organisation, or other non-NHS setting, and/or you are recruiting participants through one of these organisations, you should clarify with that organisation's management what you will need to put in place in order to have access to or contact with the proposed research participants. We require evidence of approval e.g. a letter of access or e-mail from the relevant organisation before the study can commence.

Peer review

Research proposals should be reviewed by experts in the relevant fields who are able to offer independent advice on its quality.

For health and social-care research sponsored by UoB, the Research Governance Team are required, as Sponsor, to ensure that appropriate peer review has been conducted. For most funded research, this will have been conducted through the funding process and we simply need to see confirmation of this. However, if your research is unfunded or the funder did not require a peer review, this does not mean that we do not require proof of independent peer review.

  • for funded projects, the independent scientific peer review process by the funder is the usual route. Individual studies of NIHR programme grants must be reviewed on a study level in addition to the funder review.
  • for student projects, peer review can be provided by the supervisor.
  • all other projects should demonstrate an independent scientific peer review process, relative to the risk of the project.


For Clinical Trials of Investigational Medicinal Products (CTIMPs) any necessary purchasing requirements should have input from the University's Procurement department and the Research Governance Team to ensure any contract/purchase orders fulfil the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004 requirements. Further information is available in the University Purchasing Policy.

Research involving animals

For guidance please refer to the Animal Services Unit.

Research Passports

The NHS Research Passport is the mechanism for arranging access in order to undertake research involving the NHS.

Risk assessment

Some studies might require a risk assessment either for the whole study or certain aspects of the study. These include:

  • studies that involve research undertaken in the community;
  • studies that involve drugs and substances that do not fall under the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004 (e.g. giving human participants caffeine, vitamin supplements, dietary interventions or studies of licenced drugs if information regarding the safety or efficacy of the drug will not be an ouptut of the study);
  • studies conducted overseas, particularly in high risk countries as indicated by the Foreign Office.

For guidance please see:


If your study involves transcription please visit Information Security's Transcription pages.