What is sponsorship?

All research that falls within the scope of the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research requires a sponsor this includes research that involves NHS and HSC patients, their tissue or information, staff, equipment or other resources of the NHS and HSC. The sponsor takes on responsibility for initiation, management and financing (or arranging the financing) of the research, and acts as guarantor that the research is designed, conducted and reported to internationally recognised principles of Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and relevant legislation.

Who should sponsor?

The sponsor is normally expected to be the employer of the chief investigator in the case of non-commercial research or the funder in the case of commercial research (The employer or funder is not automatically the sponsor; they explicitly accept the responsibilities of being the sponsor).

Sponsorship should be discussed and agreed in principle as early as possible in the study set-up. Ideally a sponsorship request should be made at the time the research protocol is being developed or at the grant application stage. Formal declaration from the designated sponsor is required before any application to the relevant bodies and health regulatory organisations can be submitted.

The sponsor can formally delegate responsibilities to the Chief Investigator, Clinical Trial Unit or another third party (though contracts and agreements), but remains accountable for all aspects of sponsorship whether delegated or not.

If no organisation is willing to take on the sponsor role, the study cannot proceed.

How to apply for sponsorship

*BSW Research Hub provides sponsorship support services to its partner organisations; it is not a legal entity and cannot be named as the sponsor organisation.