An image from a laboratory

This section provides guidance on the responsibilities of the College in relation to research governance and principles of good practice for health and social care research

Research governance can be defined as a broad range of regulations, principles and standards of good practice that exist to achieve and continuously improve research quality across all aspects of healthcare in the UK and worldwide. It can also be defined as regulations, principles and standards for projects outside of healthcare research, including good study conduct.

Who does it apply to?

Research Governance applies to everyone connected to research including Chief Investigators, Researchers, their employer(s) or support staff. For those in healthcare research it can also apply to those in a healthcare role, such as care professionals.

By healthcare research, we mean any health-related research which involves humans, their tissue and/or data.

Examples of such research would include: 

  • Analysis of data from a patient's medical notes
  • Observations 
  • Conducting surveys
  • Using non-invasive imaging
  • Using blood or other tissue samples
  • Inclusion in trials of drugs, devices, surgical procedures or other treatments

For non-healthcare research, this could include:

  • Interviews with study participants
  • Use of personal data
  • Observations of participants

If you are involved in research of this kind, it is important that you are aware of your obligations to the healthcare or non-healthcare research process and the development of research governance. You must also be aware of the College's research misconduct procedures.

Why is it needed?

Research Governance is needed to:

  • Safeguard participants in research
  • Protect researchers/investigators (by providing a clear framework to work within)
  • Enhance ethical and scientific quality
  • Minimise risk
  • Monitor practice and performance
  • Promote good practice and ensure lessons are learned