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Research Passport
The Research Passport is a streamlined system for issuing honorary research contracts and clinical letters of access to researchers who do not have a contractual relationship with the NHS.
Before the Research Passport was introduced, researchers working across multiple NHS sites often needed to get a new contract from each host organisation. Each contract required several pre-engagement checks, for example occupational health checks.
The Research Passport saves valuable time and resources and speeds study start-up times by relying on existing pre-engagement checks and assurances from substantial employers.
The Passport benefits researchers, NHS organisations and Universities because it:
  • Promotes the consistent use of honorary research contracts by the NHS
  • Provides clear guidance on their use
  • Provides a streamlined standard system to apply for the contracts
  • Avoids repeat checks for each contract
  • Clarifies responsibilities of NHS hosts and Higher Education Institution employers
The NHS organisation where the research will be undertaken will determine whether an honorary research contract is required. Whether or not an honorary research contract is required, pre-engagement checks may be necessary and these should be documented in the Research Passport.

Research Passport - the process

Once you (as a researcher) have ethical and research and development (R&D) for a project within NHS Lothian, you should complete a Research Passport Application and submit it to the R&D Department at the Queen’s Medical Research Institute at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
Once approved, it will be processed by the R&D Department. The researcher will either receive a Letter of Access or an honorary contract, depending on what the research project will involve.
As part of the completion of the passport application, depending on what the research will involve, there will need to be evidence of:

  • OHS fitness to undertake the research at the appropriate level - see OHS Research Passport - Guidance for Researcher
  • Disclosure Scotland Basic or Standard Check or Membership of the appropriate Protection of Vulnerable Groups List (Adults or Children or Both).


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