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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Sponsorship of Research

University sponsorship

The University works within the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research that sets out the principles of research with and in the NHS.

If you are a member of staff or a student who is undertaking research involving patients, their tissue or their data, or the administration of a controlled substance to healthy volunteers, a sponsor will be required.

Studies are eligible either for university Sponsorship (involving review via the URGC Sponsorship Sub-Committee) or NHS Sponsorship (with review via the respective NHS Trust Sponsorship committee or processes).

Applications for University Sponsorship are made in writing via the Research Governance Officer ( Health Research Authority (HRA) website contains useful guidance on external approval processes required once Sponsorship has been granted.

When is it appropriate for the University to Sponsor?

For all research projects undertaken by a member of University of Sussex staff or student registered at the University of Sussex (including BSMS) for which no prior agreements have been established that a NHS Trust is more appropriate to Sponsor.

The University is not usually able to give Sponsorship approval to Clinical Trials of Investigational Medicinal Products (CTIMPs) unless managed by a Clinical Trials Unit (CTU).

Sponsorship for other types of research

In some instances university Sponsorship will be required as a precursor to research with specific ‘gatekeeper’ procedures.

Researchers should contact at an early stage to understand what this will entail.


COVID-19 sponsored research update

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Sussex has provided an update on its website. Please see the link below.

Applying for Research Sponsorship

What is the process for applying for University Sponsorship?

The University’s Sponsorship Sub-Committee receives and monitors all applications for research Sponsorship. A list of meeting dates and submission deadlines is provided below. Applicants with no prior experience of Sponsorship are strongly advised to engage with the research governance officer at least one week before the stated deadline to receive support with their submission.

Applicants should consult the Checklist for University Sponsorship before starting their application to ensure the appropriate documentation is submitted for Sponsorship review.

Download the Checklist for university sponsorship >

The following documents should be enclosed, numbered and sent to

  • Covering letter to the Chair of the Sponsorship Sub-Committee (Prof Michael Davies, Pro-VC (Research) (max 1 side of A4). The letter should be supplemented by the list of documents under consideration.
  • Completed draft IRAS Form (

Supporting documentation: 

  • Participant Information Sheet for each group of participants involved in the study with a new version number and date in the footer of the document
  • Consent form for each group of participants involved in the study with a new version number and date in the footer of the document
  • Recruitment materials: emails / posters / letter of approach to for e.g. GPs; gatekeepers; interview schedules and topic guides
  • All validated questionnaires to be used• Researcher designed questionnaires• Summary CVs for all investigators and Good Clinical Practice (GCP) certificates of the research team.
  • Where required: HRA Schedule of Events and Statement of Activities for HRA Approval
  • If prior study review has occurred within NHS R&D, evidence of the outcomes of this process
  • If the study is in Primary Care, please state whether the CRN has been engaged in relation to providing support

Once the Sponsorship Sub-Committee has agreed that your application has been approved (and a letter issued to confirm this), you will be able to proceed with gaining HRA and NHS Research Ethics Committee approval.

Applicants are strongly advised to read carefully the HRA applicant guidance to understand the subsequent processes to be followed and documents needed to support an application.

Please note that the University reserves the right not to Sponsor studies when it believes the proposed project constitutes a risk to the organisation on patient safety, financial or legal grounds. 

Responsibilities of Chief Investigators for Sponsored studies (including applications for study amendments).