Human Resources

Research Passport FAQs


How does the Research Passport apply to visiting international researchers that are not formally employed by the University of Portsmouth?

In this situation, the University would need to complete the Research Passport form.  Where there is no formal employment contract in place between the researcher and the University, a suitable status, (e.g., guest/visiting/honorary) should be put in place to ensure that there is clear accountability between the University and the researcher.  We would then undertake the necessary pre-engagement checks to support the completion of the Research Passport.  Any associated cost would be allocated to the relevant Institute/School/department.

How to complete the form

If I am unsure which section(s) on the pre-engagement checklist/Role Assessment form my work falls under, who should I ask?

In the first instance ask your line manager/supervisor/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.

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 Portsmouth employee with an Honorary Clinical or Research Contract with the Trust in which you wish to conduct your research. Your line manager/supervisor/PI should know who this is.

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.

Who fills in Section 5 of the form?

This is for the University’s HR Department to fill in. Please do not ask your departmental administrator to fill this section in.

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 Portsmouth then we will not be able to sign off your research passport form until we have confirmation of your employment status.

Useful link: Instructions for Completing the Research Passport Form

When is a Research Passport Necessary?

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.

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.

Supporting Documents

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

Please gather all the evidence together before arranging to bring in your form - the University's HR department will not be able to complete the form without all relevant original documents.

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.

Health/Risk Assessment

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

To comply with NHS occupational health (OH) assessment requirements, and 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 to ask if you have been cleared to research passport level.

How long will a research passport level OH assessment take?

This will generally only take a few days, but is dependent on your immunisation status and which vaccinations and/or blood test results are missing and need completing to meet the necessary NHS criteria for the particular post. It also depends on available OH appointments, as well as the speed that the pathology lab turns around the blood test results, and the time to obtain an up to date vaccination history from your GP (which will be required for clearance to level 2 or 3). 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.

Amendments to your Research Passport

Amendments to the Research Passport usually take the form of the following:

  • Additional research projects,
  • Changes to research activity on the original project(s),
  • Personal details (including changes to DBS or OH status).

Researchers who change substantive employer cannot use the amendment process even if they are working on the same research project.  In this situation, a new Research Passport application must be made (exceptions may be made in relation to TUPE transfers into the University), but this should be discussed with the HR Department.

You will need to send a copy of your original Research passport application form with any amendments annotated on the appendix page (please state the NHS REC number(s) if known) directly to the relevant Trust.

If your line manager changes and/or the research project changes, please ask your new line manager to also complete Section 4 of a new RP application form. If your research project has changed you will need to check whether a different OH clearance level is required, and then contact the University’s Occupational Health team so they can identify the necessary Occupational Health assessments and immunisations required and reissue the appropriate certificate.

The Trust reserves the right to ask for additional pre-engagement checks where this is deemed to be appropriate.  Where amendments are approved, the Appendix page will be signed by the Trust's HR Manager and returned to you. The standard ‘Acceptance of Amendment Letter will be sent to you, along with copies sent to your line manager, the University’s HR Department and nominated NHS Manager. A new LoA/Honorary Research Contract will not be issued.

Where amendments are not approved, you will need to submit a new RP application.