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.

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)

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 nicr@stir.ac.uk 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 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 

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 members
Column one lists members of the NICR panel and column two lists which area of the University they represent



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.