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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Brighton and Sussex Joint Clinical Research Office

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Brighton and Sussex Joint Clinical Research Office

The Brighton and Sussex Joint Clinical Research Office (JCRO) is an exciting new initiative bringing together two universities and two local NHS Trusts, to deliver an integrated and effective approach to clinical research management and support across all four partner organisations, The four partner organisations are the University of Sussex, the University of Brighton, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

News and updates

Be part of a multi-disciplinary panel supporting research in the NHS

The Pre-Sponsorship Review Panel (PSRP) started in January 2021 and has already reviewed eight applications. The team are now looking to invite further qualitative and quantitative researchers to join the panel. The PSRP works in collaboration with researchers and sponsors to advise and support the development of high-quality sponsorship applications prior to submission to the HRA (Health Research Authority). 

Any researcher who will be conducting research in the NHS, and is employed by the University of Sussex; University of Brighton; Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; or University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust will have their application reviewed by the PSRP prior to obtaining sponsorship approval.

Members of the panel are asked to review researcher’s sponsorship applications (IRAS form, protocol and participant documents), bringing comments to the monthly panel meeting (two hours in length) for discussion. You are not expected to attend every meeting however to ensure consistency, the PSRP would like you to commit for two years to be on the panel, and to attend a minimum of three meetings per year.

This is a great opportunity to work with a multi-disciplinary team across four organisations, learning and sharing experience of what makes a good research sponsorship and ethics application. You will play a key role in supporting local researchers and peers. 

Feedback from current panel members

“It has been an interesting experience, exposing me to different areas of medicine and study methodologies. Time spent reviewing studies has developed my critical appraisal skills and also allowed me to develop coaching and mentoring strategies in feeding back to and supporting users both within and outside the group. It has helped me network with other members of the clinical research community and spend time with the PPI members who bring valuable and sometimes surprising perspectives…allowing me to hone my own study development and essential document design.”

Sally Appleyard, Clinical Academic Fellow

“The pre-sponsorship review panel were supportive throughout the process, providing feedback which allowed us to quickly progress to REC review. The PRSP also provided a valuable opportunity to engage with patients and members of the public in the design of the study and participant materials.” 

Dr Matt Stevens, NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, a recent researcher who had their application reviewed by the panel.
If you are interested, the PSRP are hosting an information session on Tuesday 4 May from 10-11am. You can sign up below.

Sign up here >

There may be an option to attend the PSRP as an observer, please contact the team at

About the JCRO

Initially established for three years (2019-2021), the JCRO  functions as a 'one-stop-shop' for projects involving one of the Universities and an NHS Trust.

It brings together expertise from each partner organisation and provides practical assistance and support in the following areas: 

  • Expertise and advice in health / clinical research management (non-scientific elements) 
  • Oversight / co-ordination / project management
  • Clinical research governance advice, particularly in an NHS context 
  • Contracting advice and support, particularly in an NHS context
  • Infrastructure support: establishing standard agreements, liaising with existing support services

The four partner organisations are the University of Sussex, the University of Brighton, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.  


JCRO Governance

Oversight of the JCRO is via a joint JCRO Board with representation across the partner organisations at Executive level. The Board has ongoing strategic oversight of the JCRO including its remit, and monitoring its effectiveness against a set of agreed KPIs.

Download the JRCO Governance Structure >

JCRO remit

Research management support across the project life-cycle for all clinical research, which meets all the following criteria: 

  • Research involving a PI / Co-I / CI employed by one of the partner organisations 
  • Involves one or more of the partner Universities and an NHS Trust 
  • Sponsored by an NHS Trust or one of the partner Universities 

Definition of clinical research 

Research into treatments and knowledge for better health and care for the benefit of patients, building the evidence for new approaches that are safe and effective. Studies may involve patients, volunteers and carers.

Researchers looking at a tablet

Pre-Sponsorship Review Panel

The Pre-Sponsorship Review Panel (PSRP) will review all research applications prior to the Sponsoring Partner issuing formal Sponsorship.

If you are a researcher, who is principally employed by one of The Brighton and Sussex Joint Clinical Research Office's (JCRO) partner organisations:

  • University Of Sussex
  • University of Brighton
  • Brighton and Sussex Universities Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUHT)
  • Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT)

and you intend to conduct research involving NHS Patients, their tissue or their data, or involve NHS Staff and some social care setting research, you will need to obtain what is known as sponsorship.

Sponsorship approval is required before you can submit your study for Health Research Authority (HRA) review. The Sponsor has responsibility for the oversight of all Research. The PSRP will review all research applications prior to the Sponsoring Organisation issuing formal Sponsorship. 

Find out more about PSRP here >

Meet the team

The core JCRO team comprises four dedicated staff based on the University of Sussex campus. 

They can provide professional management capability to support clinical research studies, particularly large multi-site / partner projects. Members of the team have NHS and University experience in a clinical research context, and draw on expertise from other support services.

Debbie Coton headshot

Debbie Coton, JCRO Coordinator

Zoe Boylan headshot

Zoe Boylan, JCRO Coordinator

Dave Todd headshot

Dave Todd, JCRO Administrator

Kitty Pert headshot

Kitty Pert, ARC Coordinator

In addition to the core team, the JCRO brings together a wider team drawn from existing staff across the four partner organisations, pooling and sharing their expertise to provide practical help and support through the lifetime of clinical research projects. 

The JCRO team can support a clinical research project at any point in its development and delivery, from providing advice to setting up and management of agreements, co-ordination and monitoring of partner budgets, and QA around study set-up readiness.


Contact us

If you would like to know more about how the JCRO can help you, or are interested in finding out more, please email