What is a Research Passport?
A Research Passport is the mechanism by which non-NHS staff can obtain an Honorary Research Contract (HRC) or Letter of Access (LoA) to enable them to carry out research in the NHS and on NHS premises.
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).
You do not 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 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. See Contacts for details
Which checks do I need?
To identify which checks you will need, click here and complete the on-line form: Research Passport: what checks do I need?
Or view the Pre-Engagement Checklist
How do I apply for a Research Passport?
Please read through the guidance available to aid with the completion of the Research Passport application.
- Research Passport Form
- RP checklist, with ID amendments
- Guidance for completing the Research Passport
You should complete sections 1-3 of the Research Passport form.
For applicants to Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – please ensure ‘Ethnicity’ in question 2 is selected from the attached list. Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation – standard categories of ethnicity
Your line manager/supervisor needs to complete and sign section 4 of the form.
If you need an occupational health assessment and / or a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check, the forms need to be completed and sent off as soon as possible. An enhanced DBS check can take up to 4 weeks to be processed through the Disclosure and Barring Service.
Once you have completed your application form, please liaise with your Departmental HR Administrator to ensure it is complete and the required supporting documents are attached.
The Departmental Administrator will then liaise with the appropriate member of the Clinical School HR Recruitment Team to have section 5 of the application signed off and ready to submit to the relevant Trust.
You must ensure you have your completed Research Passport Application form, all the originals/certified copies of the documentation detailed in the Research Passport checklist and (where necessary) clearance from Occupational Health and DBS/Agenda.
The attached link can help you manage this process
Once the form has been authorised by the appropriate NHS Trust you can use if you require a further HRC or LoA from another NHS Trust.
Please note that you can only start work in the NHS Trust once a 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.