Understanding health research - MRC


What is health research?

Health research is any research which ultimately aims to improve human health. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • fundamental discovery science which aims to develop the necessary knowledge base and improve understanding of biological or other factors influencing human health (if you do fundamental research, we provide guidance when it involves human samples, or data about people)
  • population-based studies which follow the health of a large number of people, or a ‘cohort’, over a period of time usually for a number of years
  • interventional studies, where people may be randomised to different interventions, such as those which aim to prove the safety and or efficacy of a ‘product’ like a Clinical Trial of an Investigational Medicinal Product (CTIMP).

Whatever health research you do, there are a number of different legal frameworks and regulatory requirements with which you may need to comply.

Last updated: 11 January 2023

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