All researchers wanting to conduct research with staff and/or offenders in prison establishments, National Probation Service (NPS)/Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC) regions or within Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) Headquarters are required to formally apply for research approval to the HMPPS National Research Committee (NRC).
The NRC exists to ensure:
- the research applicant, Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and HMPPS attain best value from the research conducted
- the resource implications and impact of the research on operational delivery is considered
- the robustness and relevance of the research is adequately assessed
- matters of data protection/security and research ethics are dealt with in a consistent manner
How to submit an application
All applications must be made using the National Research Application form Integrated Research Application System (IRAS).
or, for projects also requiring approval from health and social care bodies, through the
All applications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application form must be accompanied by the researchers’ CVs, any ethical approvals, any questionnaires/interview schedules and consent forms/information sheets that have already been devised.
The NRC runs on a monthly cycle, applications should be submitted by the last working day of the month at 5pm; they will then be processed and reviewed during the following month. Feedback on applications will normally be sent by the end of the month after they were submitted: for example, applications received between 1 and 31 January will be processed and reviewed in February, with feedback sent to the applicant by the 28 February.
All student applications below doctoral level need to be supported by an MOJ/HMPPS business lead in order to be considered. This business support needs to come from a senior member of staff, working in MOJ/HMPPS Headquarters who is willing to state that they believe the research is going to be of benefit to MOJ/HMPPS and will have minimal resource demands.
Due to the potential volume of student applications, the NRC is not able to assist with student applications below doctoral level that do not have this business support.
Guidance on applications
Guidance on the NRC process and application form, including information about ethical issues that should be considered, is available here:
Examples of good applications:
Tips for completing your application
- use acronyms or jargon in your application and supporting documents
- assume that NRC members are subject/methods specialists
- assume that sections do not need to be completed; if a section does not seem relevant explain why, e.g. this is a literature review of publicly available information, data protection does not apply, as no personal information is collected
- commence the research until receiving written NRC approval
We will notify you in writing of the NRC decision. We will be selective in what research we approve due to the high volume of applications. We may ask that the research is also submitted to an appropriate local research ethics committee (for example, University, NHS or research body).
If your application is successful, you will be required to prepare a research summary (approximately three pages, maximum of five pages) at the end of your project which:
- summarises the research aims and approach
- highlights the key findings
- sets out the implications for NOMS decision-makers
Provision of the research summary is essential to ensure that MOJ and HMPPS are notified of your research findings so that value of the research is maximised.
If your application is unsuccessful, we will tell you the reasons why. You are allowed one resubmission. The reasons for the previous rejection should be fully addressed.
Amendments to your research
You must seek NRC approval for any amendments to the originally approved application, e.g. changes to the prison establishments included in your research, or changes to the number of interviews you intend to conduct.
Please contact email@example.com with details of any amendments before you implement them.
Please refer to the guidance on the NRC process and application form
Or contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries