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Q. If I am unsure which section(s) on the pre-engagement checks list my work falls under, who should I ask?

In the first instance ask your CI or PI. If they do not know then contact the R&D office in the relevant Trust who will be able to look up the project details on their database.

Q. Does the person named under ‘Manager in NHS organisation‘ (Section 2.5) have to be an NHS employee?

Yes. They should either be an NHS employee in the Trust in which you applying to conduct research or they should be a University of Cambridge employee with an Honorary Clinical or Research Contract with the Trust in which you wish to conduct your research. Your CI/PI should know who this is.

Q. What do I write under ‘NHS organisation(s)‘ (Section 2.5) if my research will involve work with various departments?

Write down the main department(s) where the responsibility lies and then put ‘various‘ in brackets afterwards.

Q. When should I apply for a research passport?

As soon as you know that you will need one so that all the relevant checks can be started, however, if you are not yet an employee/student of the University of Cambridge then we will not be able to sign off your research passport form until we have confirmation of your employment/student status.

Q. Can I send my form in if I haven't got all the necessary evidence yet?

Please gather all the evidence together before sending in your form—the exceptions are the OH and DBS clearances as they will come directly to the HR Advisor/Board of Graduate Studies from the relevant office.

Q. Do I need to provide original evidence or will copies be acceptable?

You should provide either original evidence or copies of the originals. However, the copies must be made by your departmental administrator and signed and verified by them as true copies of the originals. We would recommend that if you are providing originals you either send them by secure post or deliver them by hand.

Q. I had a University of Cambridge OH check before I started my post here, do I need another check?

To comply with NHS occupational health (OH) assessment requirements, if it is identified that you require OH clearance for your research passport then an additional OH assessment may be required. You will therefore need to contact the Occupational Health Service (tel. 01223 336594, email to ask if you have been cleared to research passport level. NB if you have not yet had any University of Cambridge OH assessment then when you fill in a pre-employment health questionnaire please indicate clearly on the form that you need to be cleared to research passport level.

Q. How long does a DBS check take?

Usually the DBS aims to process 90% of Standard checks in 10 days and 90% of Enhanced checks in 4 weeks but there have been some cases that have taken over 2 months. Therefore it is best to apply for the DBS check as soon as possible as it could take a while to come through.

Q. How long will a research passport level OH assessment take?

This could take up to three weeks depending on your immunisation status and which vaccinations and/or blood test results are missing and therefore need completing to meet the necessary NHS criteria for the particular post. It also depends on available OH appointments and the individual's availability as well as the speed Addenbrooke's pathology lab turn around the blood test results. In other words it is best to apply for the OH assessment as soon as possible as it could take a while to come through.

Q. Who fills in section 5 of the form?

This is for the HR Division/Board of Graduate Studies to fill in. Please do not ask your departmental administrator to fill this section in.

Q. Can I apply for a research passport in case I need to use Trust facilities at some point in the future?

No. There has to be at least one identifiable study that needs Trust facilities in order to know which Trust should authorise the passport.

Q. Is the research passport the way to get any type of Honorary Contract?

No. There are three types of honorary contract:

This is for work such as unpaid work, observation, training etc. These are obtained directly from the Trust.
Medical and dental
These are specifically for people engaged in medical and dental work such as Consultants and Junior Doctors. These are obtained directly from the Trust.
These are for those involved in research projects where research needs to be carried out in the NHS. These are applied for via the Research Passport system.

Q. What if I only need a Letter of Access rather than an Honorary Research Contract?

You will need to complete the research passport form whether you need an Honorary Research Contract or a Letter of Access. The Trust will assess the details on the passport application and issue whichever document is appropriate for your work. The exception to this is if you hold an Honorary Clinical Contract with a Trust and wish to apply to carry out research in a different Trust, in this circumstance you should contact the R&D Department of the Trust in which you wish to conduct research and they will provide you with the relevant form.

Q. I am coming to the University for a few weeks as a visiting researcher/student, will I be able to get a research passport and Honorary Research Contract/Letter of Access in time to conduct my work?

The sooner you start the Research Passport process the more likely it is that you will be granted permission to research in the NHS within your visiting period. You will not be allowed to research in the NHS without an Honorary Research Contract or a Letter of Access.