Research Passport Process for PGR Students

Under national research governance arrangements NHS Trusts are obliged to ensure that all individuals undertaking research in the Trust have a contract of employment with the Trust (either full or honorary).  By issuing non Trust staff members with honorary contracts the Trust can extend NHS Indemnity to these individuals and ensure that all researchers working on Trust premises or with its staff, patients, their organs, tissue or data, are contractually bound to take proper account of the NHS duty of care.  Honorary contracts therefore afford protection to both parties.

Please note that it is the Trust who issue honorary contracts for postgraduate research students and not the University.

The Research Passport Application Form is the mechanism to obtain an honorary research contract with an NHS trust or a letter of access for research activity.  The level of patient/participant contact required determines whether the an honorary contract or letter of access will be required.  

The Faculty Graduate School within the Faculty of Medicine and Health is responsible for managing the research passport process for PGR students only across the University of Leeds.  The Graduate School is responsible for putting in place the appropriate checks to allow the PGR to do what they require for their research degree within the Trust.   

Activities that PGR students might be undertaking within the participating NHS Trust are shown on the  Research Passport Algorithm.  

It is important that PGR students explain fully what they will be doing/accessing/contacting within the Trust so the Graduate School can ensure that the correct checks are carried out.  

PGR students might require the following checks before the Graduate School are able to sign off their Research Passport Application:  

  • DBS check (standard or enhanced) – The Graduate School can authorise these DBS checks for PGR students.
  • Criminal Record Check from overseas country – If a student has spent 3 months or more outside of the UK, they will require a criminal record check from the country they were in.  It is the responsibility of the student to obtain this.  The Graduate School can provide details of which office within the country this can be obtained from.  
  • Occupational Health Check – The Graduate School will provide the PGR with a link to the forms to be completed and these should be submitted direct to Occupational Health.  Once the PGR has met with Occupational Health, they will receive a letter confirming they have clearance to go into the Trust or have contact with tissue. 

Once all the necessary checks are completed, then PGR students are asked to bring their completed Research Passport Application to the Graduate School for signing together with the following documentation:

  • Passport
  • Reference (only if outside of FMH)
  • Degree certificates
  • Confirmation of any professional qualifications
  • Occupational Health Clearance
  • DBS Clearance
  • Criminal Record Certificate translated into English (if applicable)

Once the Graduate School has signed the Research Passport Application Form, the PGR is responsible for submitting this to the Research and Development Office at the appropriate NHS Trust(s) who will then check the documentation and issue the honorary research contract or letter of access as appropriate. 

Further information about the Research Passport Scheme can be found at: