Skip to main content

Requests for research support

The NHS website team can sometimes support other organisations with their research.

The types of research we may be able to support include:

  • posting a survey on the NHS website – surveys are generally designed by the requesting organisation or their delivery partner
  • using the NHS website survey invitation banner to invite service users to take part in research organised by external organisations

Acceptance criteria

Any requests for research support will need to conform to acceptance criteria.

Organisation types

The NHS website team will only consider requests from:

  • arm's length bodies
  • academic institutions
  • central government departments
  • voluntary sector organisations
  • the NHS

Requests from commercial organisations that have no public sector element will be rejected. The NHS website team does not have the resources required to conduct a due diligence assessment in these circumstances.

Where a commercial organisation makes a request that is also supported by a public sector health organisation, we will consider this on its merits.

Research quality and content

Research requests must be relevant to the NHS website programme as set out in the service proposition about the NHS website. When you submit your research support request, please outline its relevance to the service propositions and any possible benefits it may bring.

You'll need to provide a detailed description of the scope of the research that includes:

  • background to the research
  • relevance to the NHS website and its service proposition
  • research objectives
  • research methodology
  • ethics approval (where appropriate)
  • how the research organisation will protect the data, anonymity and privacy of research participants
  • research outputs and dissemination

The detailed description should be included even where the request is solely to recruit research participants. This is to maintain compliance with current data protection regulations. We also have a duty of care to site users, who need to be reassured that their confidentiality is protected.

The NHS website user research lead has the right to comment on the suitability of the research and veto surveys or proposals that do not meet the required standard. Written feedback on the reasons an application is rejected will be provided.

The NHS website user research lead will have the right to comment on or amend any elements of the research instruments (for example, tools for data collection, such as questionnaires) posted on the NHS website.

Privacy and data security

The NHS website is careful to take appropriate steps to maintain the security of site users' data on our service.

We require that all organisations planning to conduct research among our site users have a suitable privacy and data security policy that is compliant with existing general data protection regulations (GDPR). This policy will need to be included with the request.

Resource requirement

An assessment of the resource required from the NHS website team will be made when requests are submitted. Those deemed to need too much resource will be rejected unless there is a clear business need for that project to be supported.

Research findings

Supported organisations will ensure the findings are published and accessible to the public.

All organisations given this research support will credit the support given by the NHS website programme in any report they produce.

Supported organisations agree to share in writing their findings or report with the NHS website programme before publication.

Availability of this resource

Our ability to meet these requests is limited. We anticipate we will be able to support a maximum of three requests per year in total.

How to submit an application

Email with "Research support" in the subject line.

Summary of the application process

  1. Submit a worked up request that includes background to the research; relevance to the NHS website programme; research objectives; research methodology; ethics approval (where appropriate); clarity on how the research organisation will protect the data, privacy and anonymity of research participants; research outputs and dissemination; and description of how the NHS website contribution will be credited.
  2. A user research lead and NHS website programme director vet the request and seek clarifications or provide comments on the proposal. They will seek advice from subject matter experts, such as the clinical lead or data security lead, as appropriate.
  3. If the project is of the required standard, the external organisation and the research team agree on the implementation details.
  4. The request to participate in research goes live on the NHS website.

Page last reviewed: 31 October 2022
Next review due: 31 October 2025