NRS welcomes efficient methods of document transfer in the research approvals and study set-up process. Applications for RECs and HRA Approval are made electronically from IRAS, and applications to CAG should be made by email. Applications in IRAS have electronic authorisation. Other documents may include electronic signatures. NRS does not require ink signatures on any research approval documents. Some sponsors continue to prefer ink signatures where other arrangements would be disproportionate or impractical.
In relation to NHS site set up, NRS encourages the use of time efficient methods of exchange of contracts and agreements, including the exchange of confirmation by email. NRS does not stipulate the use of ink signatures.
This statement has been agreed across the Health Research Authority (HRA), Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland (HSC), NHS Research Scotland (NRS) and Health and Care Research Wales. Use of electronic signatures in seeking research approvals is distinct from electronic consent for participants in clinical trials.