NHS, Invasive or Clinical Research

The NHS, Invasive or Clinical Research Panel (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 panel 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
  • Research in health care settings in other countries
  • Clinical trial of an investigational medicinal product
  • Clinical investigation or other study of a medical device
  • Combined trial of an investigational medicinal product and an investigational medical device
  • Other clinical trial to study a health related intervention or randomised clinical trial to compare interventions in health and social care practice 
  • Study limited to working with human tissue samples (or other human biological samples) and data (specific project only) 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., max strength tests
    • Physical tests. (EEG, ECG, EMG, BioPAC etc.) If using EEG, BioPAC, fNIRS and following the University of Stirling’s approved protocol you may be able to apply to GUEP.
    • Computer tests where there are potential health consequences e.g. dementia, sleep apnoea, depression tests
    • Filming or photography (as part of a health research study or in a health setting/context)
    • Sample-taking urine, blood, hair, muscle biopsy
    • Ingestion of substances, fluids or alcohol
    • Questionnaires, surveys or interviews/focus groups with sensitive questions with implications for health (e.g. depression, mental health etc)

Related links

Information for University staff and students

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

Approval through NICR should proceed as outlined below:

Staff applying to IRAS

Staff applying through IRAS for ethical approval of their study should complete and submit an IRAS application form. Staff do not require NICR approval before they submit through IRAS.
Once submitted staff should also lodge details of their IRAS application through the Ethics Review Manager (ERM) where they will be asked to upload a PDF copy of their IRAS application.

Students applying to IRAS

Students should complete an IRAS application form, but not submit it. Instead, they should save a copy of the IRAS PDF form and submit it through ERM for review by the NICR Panel. Only once NICR has granted approval for submission through IRAS should the application be submitted.

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.

Staff and Students NHS Indemnity 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 ethics@stir.ac.uk.
  • On IRAS add the Research Integrity and Governance Manager's details as sponsor representative (Qs A4 and A64)
  • The Research Integrity and Governance Manager will then issue you with a letter confirming sponsorship and a letter confirming indemnity cover.
  • 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.

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.

Panel meetings

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

NICR schedule
Column one describes when applications are due by and column two describes when the NICR panel meets

Applications due

Meeting date 

20 Nov 2023

12 Dec 2023

05 Feb 2024

20 Feb 2024

11 March 2024

26 March 2024

15 April 2024

30 April 2024

13 May 2024

28 May 2024

10 June 2024

25 June 2024

No July meeting

No July meeting

05 Aug 2024

20 Aug 2024

02 Sep 2024

17 Sep 2024

23 Sep 2024

10 Oct 2024

28 Oct 2024

12 Nov 2024

25 Nov 2024

10 Dec 2024

NICR Panel membership

NICR members
Position Name Faculty
Lay Chair Ceri Hirst   
Deputy Chairs Gozde Ozakinci Faculty of Natural Sciences
  Colin Moran Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport 
Panel Members Thomas Di Virgilio Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport
  Nicola Cunningham Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport
  Allison Ford Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport
  Michael Ussher Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport 
  Nidia Rodriguez-Sanchez Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport
  Andrea Sinesi Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport
  Barbara Farquharson Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport
  Jessica MacLaren Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport
  Lisa Macaulay Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport
  Sinead Currie Faculty of Natural Sciences
  Benjamin Dering Faculty of Natural Sciences
  Frances Ramsay  
Lay Members  William Clark  

Contact NICR

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