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Conducting research at CUH

We are responsible for overseeing all the biomedical research which takes place on our campus in so far as it involves our patients, their data or tissues, or where it uses NHS facilities and our staff.

Biomedical research taking place with patients at Cambridge University Hospitals includes the following activities:

  • testing a new formulation of a drug therapy
  • testing a new device or tool to either improve diagnosis or to improve recovery
  • testing a new method of delivery of a drug or treatment
  • asking patients to complete qualitative questionnaires
  • asking patients to take part in a series of tests, e.g. measuring their heart rate and recording the results

Any research involving patients at the hospital means that you will need the help of the research and development governance team. This team will guide you through the research application process to ensure that what you do is safe, ethical and complies with all the necessary legislation governing research on people.

Our Mission

To facilitate excellence in medical research by providing helpful and competent support on all matters of research governance, administration and management.

Before you start

Commercial Research update

From Mid-October 2023 as part of work to improve the set-up of commercial studies in the UK, local contract negotiation is changing in Stage 2 of the National Contract Value Review (NCVR) which was implemented in response to Lord O’Shaughnessy’s independent review (opens in a new tab) of commercial clinical trials

What is changing?

For all studies submitted from Sunday 1 October 2023:

  • Regulatory and costings submissions will be made at the same time
  • The budget will be shared with the lead applicant (lead NHS site) for national costing. This finance schedule will be put into a new template contract appendix, to be shared with sites
  • There is no local site budget negotiation as the financial appendix is mandated for use, unmodified.
  • From 18 October, any contract not already agreed will need to follow NCVR stage 2.
  • The aim is to speed up commercial trial setup so sites can concentrate on assessing resource to provide capacity and capability to deliver the trial.
  • Further information available here (opens in a new tab).

Which studies are affected?

All commercial contract research to take place in the NHS across the UK is planned to be in scope of NCVR. There are some exceptions for stage two: phase I-IIa, advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP) studies and studies carried out in independent contractor primary care.

Studies excluded from stage two in the NCVR process will be included as soon as possible

Health research authority (HRA)

The role of the health research authority (HRA) is to protect and promote the interests of patients and the public in health research and to streamline the regulation of research. The HRA are also responsible for the NHS research ethics Committees.

HRA Approval is required for all research to commence in the NHS in England. It comprises a review by a Research Ethics Committee (REC), and an assessment of regulatory compliance and related matters undertaken by HRA staff located in centres around England.

HRA Approval includes a study-wide review in line with UK-wide agreed standards and also new assurances, including the coordination of clinical support assurances for radiation and pharmacy. When HRA Approval is fully implemented, sites have to confirm they have the capacity and capability to undertake the study. Once HRA Approval is in place and local capacity and capability is agreed, sites can confirm with the sponsor their readiness to recruit and the study can then start at that site. 

Applications for HRA approval are made using IRAS (Integrated Research Applications System) and are e-submitted directly to the HRA through IRAS. Study documents to sites are provided directly from the sponsor for most study types. HRA studies will not appear in the NIHR CSP module. 

Guidance is available on the HRA website (opens in a new tab). This includes guidance for applicants and NHS organisations and illustrative examples.

Please email the research development department with any enquiries.


The application forms for the submissions to all review bodies can be completed through the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS). This national on-line system captures all the necessary information for the relevant approvals. It replaced previous forms such as the NRES form and COREC form.

The key IRAS forms are:

  • REC application form
  • Research and Development application form
  • Site specific information (SSI) form

Once ready, the forms can be signed electronically and submitted to the applicable review bodies.

Access the integrated research application system (IRAS) (opens in a new tab)

GCP training

Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training

It is Trust policy for all Research Nurses and all staff involved in clinical trials of investigational medicinal products (CTIMPs) to complete GCP training. The Trust accepts certification of training done in the last two years. For any member of staff who has not completed GCP training within the last two years, the Research and Development Department currently offers online training and limited face-to-face training onsite. These are led by our trainer Shirley Hallam and they cover the GCP Full Course, a Refresher Course and a Lab Course.

The GCP Refresher course is aimed at those who have undertaken the full GCP course within the last two years or have renewed their training within the last two years. Please remember to attach a copy of your recent certificate with your registration.

The Refresher course fee is £30 and the Introduction to GCP (Full) course is £60.00. If you would like to book on to one of these course please complete the registration form and transfer of expenditure form and return to Carla flores (email Carla Flores).

There is a test at the end of each session. R&D issues the relevant certificates following this test. Please remember to send us a copy of your certificate(s) to ensure your training records are kept up to date.

Please note all GCP training courses from R&D have now finished for 2023. New dates for 2024 will appear on this page shortly.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Epigeum no longer supports any GCP trainings. If you have not completed your training via Epigeum you will no longer be able to log back in and complete.

Online training from NIHR

NIHR also offers online full and refresher GCP training, which is free of charge to NIHR, NHS and UK universities. Visit the NIHR website (opens in a new tab) for more details on GCP training: note that for online sessions you will need to register on NIHR Learn (link below). Once you have created your account, follow the steps on their website to start your training. Remember to send a copy of your certificate(s) to Lauren Basham in Research and Development to ensure your training records are kept up to date.

Register with NIHR Learn (opens in a new tab)

Booking your training

R&D have moved to an online booking system via Eventbrite. Please self-register here (opens in a new tab), selecting your date and type of training.

Or you can complete the registration form and transfer of expenditure form both located below, and return to Lauren Basham.

The Transfer of Expenditure form allows direct transfer of funds between Trust departments for employees of Cambridge University Hospitals NHSFT. If this does not apply to you and you would like us to raise an invoice to your department, then please mark your registration form accordingly (i.e. non-CUHNHSFT) and provide us with your departmental budget holder name, email address, telephone no and postal address.

If you can provide us with a Purchasing Order please do; it is however not compulsory unless your department requires it.

Remote EDGE training

Local Portfolio Management System (LPMS)

Since 2017 Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) have been using an LPMS called Edge to capture clinical trials data and support the delivery and maintenance of research at CUH.

If you work on studies adopted to the NIHR Portfolio, it is a mandatory requirement to upload patient recruitment data to Edge.


LPMS / Edge data now feeds and flows directly to the Central Portfolio Management System (CPMS)

Edge covers Portfolio study recruitment only

Remote training now available

Face-to-face training in using Edge unfortunately is unable to take place during the current pandemic, but the Edge team can now offer virtual training over Zoom. This lasts around an hour and is suitable for all NHS staff with responsibility for confirming recruitment activity from EDGE in CPMS.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, either for yourself and / or team members, please email the CUH EDGE Team in the first instance, with proposed dates and times that work for you.

Starting a project

If you are thinking about starting a research project, take the opportunity to speak to the research development department as early as you can, even if all you have is an idea.

They can offer advice and help with protocol submission and advise you on what information you will need to submit a research application.

Setting up a project


Once a project has been authorised to take place at the trust, the Research and Development Department provides ongoing support for investigators and is happy to answer queries on all aspects of research.

The pages in this section will provide advice and guidance on the various elements involved in research especially in the early stages of study set-up. This can include providing training, issuing honorary research contracts or letters of access, or even providing funding guidance for grant applications. We also have an innovation scout within the department to help you with any innovations queries.

National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) 

The National Institute for Health and Care Research's vision is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Visit the NIHR website to find out more about funding opportunities (opens in a new tab), including funding for research studies and training / career development.

EU funding

NIHR Research Design Service East of England

Thinking of applying for research funding? The Research Design Service for the East of England offers free advice on all aspects of preparing grant applications and building collaborative research teams, including:

  • Sources of funding
  • Refining research objective
  • Designing your study
  • Methodological expertise
  • Planning research teams and budgets
  • Patient and Public Involvement

To find out more about current funding opportunities visit the RDS East of England website (opens in a new tab).