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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)
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  • 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 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 alongside their completed NICR approval coversheet for authorisation.

    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
    • 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.

    Applications due

    Meeting date 

    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

  • NICR Panel membership



    Steven Waters Lay Chair
    Josie Evans Co-Deputy Chair
    Fiona Harris Co-Deputy Chair
    Anne Whittaker Health Sciences and Sport
    Niels Vollaard Health Sciences and Sport
    Thomas Di Virgilio Health Sciences and Sport
    Nicola Cunningham Health Sciences and Sport
    Allison Ford Health Sciences and Sport
    Douglas Eadie Health Sciences and Sport
    Edward Duncan Health Sciences and Sport
    William Clark Lay Member
    Stuart Hislop Lay Member
    Dawn Cameron Health Sciences and Sport
    Kate Clarke (Research Leave) Health Sciences and Sport
    Paul Rigby (Research Leave) Social Sciences
    Sandra Engstrom Social Sciences
    Sinead Currie Natural Sciences
    Benjamin Dering Natural Sciences
    Andrea Sinesi Health Sciences and Sport
    Barbara Farquharson Health Sciences and Sport


Contact NICR

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

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