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NHS, Invasive or Clinical Research

The NHS, Invasive or Clinical Research Committee (NICR) considers any health/patient research requiring approval by the NHS Research Ethics Committee and/or taking place with NHS staff, patients or on NHS premises.

It also deals with any health/patient research taking place in health service settings in other countries, and all research involving physically invasive procedures or intrusive interventions on human participants.

  • More information

    Research requiring approval from the NICR committee includes, but is not restricted to:

    • ALL research involving NHS patients, NHS staff or taking place in NHS sites which requires NHS R and D approval
    • Clinical investigation or other study of a medicinal product or medical device
    • Studies working with human tissue samples (or other human biological samples) or research tissue bank
    • Basic science study involving procedures with human participants:
      • Imaging investigations (MRI, ultrasound etc.).
      • Physical examinations (blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate etc.).
      • Physical tests (EEG, ECG, EMG, BioPAC etc.). If using EEG or taking routine physiological recordings using approved equipment (e.g. BioPAC) and following the University of Stirling’s approved protocols please apply to GUEP.
      • Computer tests where there are potential health consequences (dementia, sleep apnoea, depression tests).
      • Filming or photography (as part of a health research study or in a health setting/context).
      • Sample-taking.
      • Questionnaires, surveys or interviews/focus groups that include sensitive questions with implications for health (depression, mental health etc.).
  • Related links
  • Information for University staff and students

    Request ethical approval from the NHS, Invasive or Clinical Research committee

    Additional Approval

    Staff and students carrying out the types of research described on this page always need approval from the University’s NICR committee, but may also need to seek NHS Research and Development and NHS Research Ethics Committee approval via the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS). If you have any questions about seeking ethical approval through IRAS, please contact us at

    You must discuss with the appropriate NHD R&D Office as to whether NHS R&D approval ONLY is required, or whether NHS R&D and NHS REC approval is required, and seek guidance from them as to the subsequent application process.

    Approval through NICR should proceed as outlined below:


    Staff should complete and submit an IRAS application form, then send a copy of the application (including reference number) to NICR along with their completed NICR approval coversheet.


    Students should complete an IRAS application form, but not submit it. Instead, they should save a copy of the IRAS PDF form and send it to us alongside their completed NICR approval coversheet for authorisation.

    Staff and Students NHS Sponsorship Letters

    As well as NHS REC approval through the IRAS system applicants are also required to confirm the sponsor for your project and provide proof of indemnity cover as part of your application. Letters confirming both sponsorship and indemnity will be provided by Research and Innovation Services.

    The process for obtaining letters:

    • Download the Sponsorship form
    • Complete and sign the Sponsorship form - then gather all the additional signatures required (electronic signatures are acceptable): 
      • University of Stirling supervisor (if applicable)
      • Dean of Faculty
    • Email the fully signed form, copying in all signatories as an audit trail, to the Research Integrity and Governance Manager
    • On IRAS add the Research Integrity and Governance Manager's details as sponsor representative (Qs A4 and A64)
    • Once your IRAS form is complete and has been signed off by the Chief Investigator and supervisor (as applicable) request authorisation from the sponsor representative.
    • The Research Integrity and Governance Manager will review the IRAS form and then issue you with a letter confirming sponsorship and a letter confirming indemnity cover.

    Please allow time for this process as both letters will only be issued once the above process has been completed. In addition, indemnity letters may not be issued immediately as any high risk topics (e.g. pregnant women or small children) may require confirmation from the University insurer that the project will be covered.

    Committee meetings

    The NICR committee meets regularly throughout the year to consider ethical approval applications. See their schedule of upcoming meetings and submission deadlines below.

    Applications due

    Meeting date 

    10 Sep 2019

    24 Sep 2019

    08 Oct 2019

    22 Oct 2019

    26 Nov 2019

    10 Dec 2019

    14 Jan 2020

    28 Jan 2020

    11 Feb 2020

    25 Feb 2020

    10 March 2020

    31 March 2020

    7 April 2020

    28 April 2020

    12 May 2020

    26 May 2020

    16 June 2020

    30 June 2020

    No meeting in July

    No meeting in July

    11 August 2020

    25 August 2020

    15 Sept 2020

    29 Sep 2020

    13 Oct 2020

    27 Oct 2020

    10 Nov 2020

    24 Nov 2020

    6 Dec 2020

    22 Dec 2020

    Applicants should make themselves available between 11:00 and 15:00 to take enquiries from committee should the need arise. Please ensure an appropriate contact telephone number is provided on your NICR coversheet.

  • NICR Panel membership



    Steven Waters Lay Chair
    Josie Evans Co-Deputy Chair
    Fiona Harris Co-Deputy Chair (Research Leave)
    Anne Whittaker Co-Deputy Chair
    Niels Vollaard Sport
    Nicola Cunningham Health Sciences
    Allison Ford Inst. for Social Marketing
    Douglas Eadie Inst. for Social Marketing
    Eddie Duncan NMAHP
    William Clark Lay Member
    Stuart Hislop Lay Member
    Dawn Cameron Health Sciences
    Kate Clarke Health Sciences
    Paul Rigby Social Sciences
    Sinead Currie Natural Sciences
    Benjamin Dering Natural Sciences


Contact NICR

Get in touch with the NHS, Invasive or Clinical Research Committee.

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