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Research for Researchers

 Information for researchers, students and other professionals


At the NSFT Research Office we are the coordinated hub of research activity across the Trust. We are integrated research development, facilitation, delivery and training department which also leads on supporting research outputs and dissemination.

The ethos of the department is that research is a core function of the Trust and we work together as a single team across bases in Norfolk and Suffolk to ensure an effective research service.


Developing Research

At NSFT Research, we can support you as researchers who are developing research proposals for funding applications, or to inform local practice. The following guidance is available from us:

Is my Project Research Evaluation or Audit?

NSFT Research Project Brief Template

Writing a research proposal

 Research Grant Applications at NSFT


For further support, please contact the NSFT Research Development Officer, who can help you to:

  • Find academic or clinical collaborators

  • Locate an appropriate funding opportunity and support the application process through to submission.

  • Conduct costing and feasibility assessments of your project
  • Co-ordinate User Involvement in Research through the NSFT Inspire panels 


To contact the Research Development Officer, please email or call 01603 421340. 

Partnerships: At NSFT Research we are happy to work with any organisation interested in developing mental health research in Norfolk and Suffolk. We have worked with academic institutions, NHS Trusts, Third-sector organisations and Industry to develop high-quality clinical research projects. 

Approving Research

At NSFT Research we can support you to obtain the relevant approvals for research and service evaluations taking place in Norfolk and Suffolk NHS mental health services. The first thing you need to do is read the Classifying Your Project document above to find out if your proposal is Research or Service Evaluation. Contact us for further advice. 



All research conducted in NSFT requires national HRA Approval (incorporating NHS Ethical Approval) followed by a 'Confirmation of Capacity and Capability' from the NSFT Research office. 

More information about the HRA Approval process can be found at the following link

HRA Approval can be obtained by completing the IRAS application forms available at 

NSFT Research Committee:

The Committee meets monthly and undertakes reviews of local research, as well as sharing information about national research projects. The Committee is particularly focused on evaluating the following areas: 

  1. Strength of team which shows a multidisciplinary approach with appropriate academic and clinical support

  2. Strength of research design, to ensure that the method in which you wish to conduct your research will meet your objectives in a sound manner

  3. That the benefits of the research outweigh any risk to participants, staff and the Trust

  4. That the intention of the research is to offer a real benefit to service users and carers, and can evidence involvement of service users in the development and conduct of the study where possible

  5. That the study is feasible and likely to achieve recruitment and delivery targets as stated

Research Sponsorship:
Every research project is required to have an organisational sponsor. The sponsor holds the overall responsibility for the development, approval and conduct of the research project. Often, the employing organisation of the Chief or lead investigator will act as the sponsor, although student projects are often sponsored by the University with which the student is registered).

If you would like NSFT to sponsor your research, please email us on with information about your study so we can start sponsorship discussions. Please note that NSFT does not sponsor CTIMPs (drug trials), Device trials, and any Phase I research.  

Student Research:
At NSFT Research we are happy to support students, registered with a partner university, to develop and receive approvals for their studies. Currently we advise Clinical Psychology Doctoral students, MSc and PhD students who are undertaking their research in the NHS. If you are a student and would like support, please read the following guidance and contact us on the

Getting your NHS research project approved: guide for students 

Service Evaluations:
We also support the review and registration of service evaluations, and have produced the following guidance for professionals.

NSFT Service Evaluation Guidance

NSFT Service Evaluation Registration Form

Service Evaluation Consent Form template


Conducting Research:
At NSFT Research we work in partnership with Clinical Research Network Eastern to ensure that national research projects are set-up, conducted according to high practice standards and delivered to time and target. A list of our current studies is available on the service user section of our research website.

We have a team of highly trained and experienced mental health research professionals, including Nurses, Practitioners and Psychologists who work across Norfolk and Suffolk, liaising with clinical and research teams to ensure safe and efficient research practice, as well as an enjoyable experience for service users and carers. 

For further information about CRN Eastern, please visit their website here.

Policies regarding the conduct of research in the NSFT can be found in our research compliance section.

Publishing Research:

At NSFT Research we are also now helping you as researchers to publish your research. We have produced the following Publication guidance with our library partners in the NSFT Knowledge Centre:

Choosing the Right Journal for Publication

Writing a Journal Paper or preparing your work for publication 

Publication Guidance Authorship Considerations 

Publishing a service evaluation: What if your project isn't research.pdf

Research Training:
In 2011, we developed a Trust-wide Research training programme which aimed to inform staff about research management and opportunities. Over time, the programme has broadened and restructured, to involve a 4 level plan of staff engagement.  

Level 1 – Research Awareness:
Knowing how to identify and refer participants into current research studies.

Level 2 – Research Involvement:
Acting as a co-investigator or part of the research team on one of more current research studies, eventually leading to a Principal Investigator role.

Level 3 - Research Design:
Writing and developing Trust-led research and evaluation proposals.

Level 4 – Research Professional Development:
Using research skills and knowledge to further professional and personal career aspirations.

The training is delivered very flexibly, from Trust-wide (usually 30 people + per session) to small clinical teams (10-15), or occasionally individually.

Our training has received very positive feedback from all parties, ranging from Consultants, Junior Doctors, Nurses, Psychologists and administrative staff. Our staff have reported feeling much more engaged and informed about research, and crucially, much more confident and enthusiastic. 

If you are working with the Trust as a clinician or researcher, and would like to attend our research training, then please register your interest at