Research management and conduct
The UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research outlines the principles of good practice in the management and conduct of health and social care research in the UK. All NIHR-funded research must be completed in accordance with this framework.
The Research Integrity Concordat, to which the NIHR is a signatory, ensures that research produced by or in collaboration with the UK research community is underpinned by the highest standards of rigour and integrity.
Use of animals in research
Our funding is focused on translational, clinical and applied health and care research. We therefore do not fund basic research or work involving animals, animal tissue or both.
However, we work in close partnership with the Medical Research Council, which funds animal research in carefully defined circumstances.
We recognise that the carefully regulated use of animals in research is important in understanding disease and in developing safe and effective ways of preventing or treating illness.
We also recognise the need for robust application of the 3Rs – that animals are replaced with non-animal alternatives wherever possible, that the number of animals used is reduced to the minimum needed to achieve the results sought, and that, for those animals which must be used, procedures are refined as much as possible to minimise their suffering.
We therefore support the Government’s policies on research using animals set out in Working to reduce the use of animals in scientific research.
All research projects funded by the NIHR research programmes are required to have a steering committee. The committee provides overall supervision for a project on behalf of the project sponsor and project funder, and ensures that the project is conducted to rigorous governance standards.
People who are invited to take part in health and care research must give informed consent before being enrolled. For consent to be considered both legal and ethical it must be:
- given by a person with capacity
- voluntarily given, with no undue influence
- given by someone who has been adequately informed
- a fair choice.
We expect that research funded or supported by the NIHR follows best practice in consent and the preparation of information for participants, as set out by the Health Research Authority.
Prospective study registration and timely disclosure of results are important for ethical, moral, accountability, research integrity and waste reduction perspectives. The NIHR, as a public funder of research involving patients and the public, places particularly high value on these principles.
The NIHR policy on clinical trial registration and disclosure of results sets out our expectations of funded researchers undertaking clinical trials.
Publication of research findings
Findings from all NIHR-funded research should be published in an open access, peer reviewed journal.
NIHR-funded researchers must provide advance notification of research publications to the relevant NIHR coordinating centre.
Sharing of research data
The NIHR strongly supports the appropriate sharing of data produced during research, to help deliver research that maximises benefits to patients and the wider public, the health and care system and which contributes to economic growth in the UK.
Protecting personal data
Researchers and study coordinators must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) with respect to processing personal data, such as from research participants.
The Health Research Authority has published operational guidance on the implications of the GDPR for the delivery of research in the UK.
Freedom of Information
The NIHR is subject to the Freedom of Information arrangements of the Department of Health and Social Care. More information on their policy and how to make a request are available on the Department of Health and Social Care website.
It covers the type of information we collect and what we do with it, and also how long we keep it.
NIHR Service Desk