Our policy on research regulation

Medical research involving patients is one of the most heavily regulated sectors in the world.

Regulation ensures that patients are protected when taking part in research and that the data generated from research is robust and applicable to future clinical practice.

Our policy team works with researchers and regulators to ensure that the regulation that governs the research that is proportionate – protecting patients whilst ensuring unnecessary red tape does not impede our researchers.

In recent years the research community has highlighted numerous ways that European and UK laws along with processes in the NHS have damaged their ability to run clinical trials and research studies. This is because excessive or unnecessary regulation can slow down or stop clinical research taking place as well as greatly increase the cost to funders.

We’ve recently seen commitments from both the UK government and the EU to improve the situation for medical research. In the UK the formation of the Health Research Authority and a renewed focus on improving the approval times for research in the NHS are already having positive effects on our availability to conduct research. At an EU level the new Clinical Trials Regulation will make it easier and faster to set up a clinical trial.

We also work on other regulatory issues associated ranging from management of human tissue and ethical principles of research.

Latest policies

Statement: UK health and research community welcomes way forward for scientific advice in Europe

May 2015

Download statement [PDF]

Letter to European Commission President on vital need to maintain Chief Scientific Adviser Post

July 2014

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Joint Statement on the Commission’s proposals for the Clinical Trials Regulation

Download the policy [PDF]


Transforming the regulation and governance of health research in the UK

May 2012

Download the report [PDF]

Supporting Research, protecting patient: Cancer Research UK’s recommendations to reform the Clinical Trials Directive

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Response to House of Commons inquiry into leaving the EU: implications and opportunities for science and research

August 2016

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Comment on the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research

May 2015


Response to the European Medicines Agency on the transparency addendum to the functional specifications for the EU portal and database

February 2015


Cancer Research UK response to the Health Research Authority Strategy for Public Involvement

January 2014


HRA’s Transparent Research Paper

June 2013

Download the report [PDF]

Response to proposed updates to Declaration of Helsinki

June 2013


Response to House of Commons Committee inquiry – Clinical Trials and Access to Data

February 2013


Contact us

Get in touch with our policy team to find out more information about our policy on supporting research.

Call our policy team for more information.

020 3469 8360 

Email the team

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