Research at NOMS

We carry out and commission research to measure the effectiveness of offender management services, in the short or long term.

We are always looking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of probation providers and prison services. We spend our funds on research that gives the best possible economic and social return.

Research publications

Our other research reports are listed under the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) research and analysis reports.

You can find older research publications from before May 2010 on The National Archives website.

Research contracts

If suppliers become aware of an opportunity through a Contract Finder Notice, there will be instructions within the notice on how to apply. We do not have a preferred supplier list. They will either make use of available frameworks or allow open competition.

Research application process

We encourage research wherever it has the potential to increase the effectiveness of our services, either in the short or long term. We are particularly interested in research identifying cost-effective ways of:

  • delivering the sentences and orders of the court
  • establishing positive, safe, secure and decent environments for managing offenders and delivering offender services
  • reducing reoffending and protecting the public.

How to submit an application

You can submit an application to conduct research across NOMS using the NOMS research application form (XLSM, 292KB) or through the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS). If an IRAS is being submitted, the PDF version should be sent.

Send completed application forms to

Our application process covers all research projects requiring access to data, staff or offenders. It includes research involving Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and their subcontractors, Contracted Prisons and Young Offenders’ Institutions (YOIs), but excludes research in Secure Training Centres, Secure Children’s Homes or with Youth Offending Teams – applications to conduct research in these excluded areas should be directed to the relevant establishments/teams and approval sought directly from these services (the Youth Justice Board does not provide approval for external research but requires that proposed research in Secure Training Centres, Secure Children’s Homes or with Youth Offending Teams has been through a University or other ethics board for review and that any additional local or national approvals have been obtained).

Guidance on filling in your application can be found in our our application guidance document (MS Word Document, 313KB) . This sets out the common considerations for those reviewing applications and the expectations placed upon researchers, as well as data protection and ethical considerations.

Completed application forms should be sent to

You need to fully complete your application, and provide any supporting documentation, including CVs, any ethical submissions and approvals, and any questionnaires, consent forms etc. Incomplete applications will delay the review process.

Applications from academic institutions

The lead researcher must be a Doctoral student unless the research is already supported by a NOMS/MOJ business lead. Due to the potential volume of research, it is not possible for us to assist with other applications.

Research application review

We log all applications through the central National Research Committee. They are then reviewed by the appropriate person.

If the full committee needs to consider the application, you must submit it by the end of the month, ready for the following month’s committee meeting.

We review all research applications by asking:

  • are there enough links to NOMS priorities?
  • what are the likely demands on resources, eg staff time, office requirements, data providers?
  • is there an overlap with other current or recent research?
  • how appropriate and able is the methodology?
  • are there any data protection / security issues?
  • are there any ethical considerations?
  • what is the extent of the applicants’ research skills and experience?

We will notify you in writing of the decision. We will be selective due to the high volume of applications and may insist that the research is also submitted to an appropriate local research ethics committee (e.g. University, NHS or research body).

Unsuccessful applicants

If your application is unsuccessful, we will give you a reason why. You will only be allowed 1 resubmission. The reasons for the previous rejection should be fully addressed.

Successful applicants

If your application is successful, you will be required to prepare a research summary at the end of the project which:

  • summarises the research aims and approach
  • highlights the key findings
  • sets out the implications for NOMS decision-makers (approximately 3 pages, maximum of 5 pages)

You will also be required to submit a project review form (which covers lessons learnt and asks for ratings on key questions). Provision of the research summary and project review form is essential to ensure that value of the research is maximised.