Academic Toolkit - ACT!

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Pre-PhD preparation
Initial planning
Find a supervisor
Develop your research question
Plan for OOP and inform TPD
Find your collaborators
Investigate funders
Think about feasibility
Find a mentor
Approvals for clinical projects

Check whether your study is research

Start 11 months before funding application deadline and complete by 9 months before funding application deadline

It is important that your proposed work if it involves human subjects falls within the strict definition of "research". Some research - for instance involving pre-clinical work on established cell lines and animal model systems - does not require HRA/REC approval, but may be subject to the regulations put in place by the Home Office. Research that involves existing data collected with consent - for instance systematic reviews and meta-analyses - does not require HRA/REC approval.


The HRA provides tools to determine whether your study is research.

Defining Research External link

This table defines what constitutes research. A PDF from the HRA, October 2017.

Determine whether your work is research External link

A tool from HRA.

determining whether you need ethic approval for your research External link

Not all research requires ethical approval. This is a decision tool to help you determine whether or not ethical approval is required.

Funding application
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