For studies that are not commercially sponsored, the College will play a greater role in developing the research idea. The chief investigator will be responsible for preparing the proposal in such a way that the study’s feasibility can be assessed accurately and efficiently.

A clear and robust proposal, along with an outline of the protocol, will help communicate the overall message of the study to other stakeholders and enable them to assess their potential contribution and provide initial costings. 

When developing your research, you should take into account existing sources of evidence, especially systematic reviews, to avoid duplicating other work or failing to contribute something useful to existing knowledge.

It is also worth considering the following:

  • Benefits - high scientific quality, reliable and accurate data
  • Risks - safety and wellbeing of potential participants and research team, credibility of data, environment and wider community
  • Risk management - control significant risks and ensure contingencies are in place
  • R&D consultation - contact JRCO in the early stages of study development to identify support facilities
  • Study design - identify practical requirements through consultation with patients/participants, data sharing, tracking systems, trial documentation and supplies

See the links below for further guidance.


TypeWhere to find
Key contacts Clinical Divisions; JRCO; JRO
Useful links JRCO - develop proposal
NIHR Clinical Trials Toolkit - trial planning and design
NIHR Clinical Trials Toolkit - risk assessment
NIHR CRN - developing your research idea
NIHR benchmark Prior to NIHR 70-day benchmark
Process map links This activity occurs in the feasibility stage:
Imperial College London as sponsor
> Imperial College Hospital NHS Trust as sponsor