Over a million people take part in research across the UK every year - but finding suitable participants for your study is not always easy.
Be Part of Research now provides the first UK-wide registry for all health and care specialties. It gives researchers and sponsors free and easy access to research-engaged volunteers from across the UK - enabling study teams to recruit more quickly and effectively.
How does the service work?
Our service supports a broad range of research - from lifestyle questionnaires to clinical trials - taking place at local hospitals, GP surgeries, in care or community settings or at home.
When registering for an account, volunteers consent to be contacted about research opportunities in their region. They choose the conditions and research areas that interest them, or sign up as a healthy volunteer.
We then select the most suitable volunteers for your study and invite them to take part via email. The volunteer then decides if they want to take part.
Our system enables us to identify volunteers for your study through a wide range of data including age, ethnic group, sex, location and condition.
Which studies can use it?
Ideal studies will have broad interest and a number of recruiting sites across the country.
- Be funded or supported by the NIHR. This includes studies on the NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio.
- Have Research Ethics Committee approval to use the service as a recruitment tool.*
- Have a dedicated point of contact such as a pre-screener or website for interested volunteers to engage with your research team.
*We can support you in any additional ethics submissions you might need to do.
How we can support you
Our dedicated team will work closely with you through each step to recruit volunteers into your study. The team has proven experience of supporting researchers with recruiting volunteers to studies from registries, including the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry and Join Dementia Research.
Getting started is easy, simply complete our study registration form and a member of the Be Part of Research team will contact you within five working days to discuss your study. Once your study is approved to use the service, we will signpost volunteers to your study when you are ready.
If you have any questions about including your study on our registration service please email us.
“Using the registry to share my research questionnaire with volunteers across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland was easy and led to a fast influx of responses to the online questionnaire. The service helped me to reach my target recruitment and I would be happy to use the service again.”
Jessica Large, Doctoral Researcher, Centre for Lifestyle Medicine and Behaviour, Loughborough University.
How will volunteers be matched to my studies?
Research teams specify the type of participants they are looking for, and the Be Part of Research team will use the data provided through the registry to identify potentially suitable volunteers. The Be Part of Research team will then send the research team’s email containing study details to interested, matched volunteers.
We anticipate that studies will get the best response if their emails direct volunteers to a study website or a pre-screening service. If a volunteer contacts the research team, it is the research study team's responsibility to maintain communication with the volunteer and ensure they receive all the details they need to make an informed decision about taking part.
What conditions are volunteers able to select from?
Volunteers select areas of research they are interested in from a list of conditions that we manage and continue to refine. There is no limit to the number of areas of research that volunteers are able to select. Volunteers can also include themselves as healthy volunteers.
Will I be able to identify volunteers from any devolved nation?
The service is being developed to serve the UK as a whole, volunteers can register from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Your study must have the essential approvals in place to run in the nation you intend to contact volunteers in.
Is there a timescale whereby we must contact the volunteers matched to a study?
Once a volunteer expresses an interest in a research study, it is expected that the research study team will be in contact with the volunteer as soon as possible. We will discuss these timescales with each study, but researchers need to be committed to ensuring a positive volunteer and participant experience.
How do I report back the number of volunteers who are recruited through this service?
Researchers using the service must provide feedback on how many volunteers have expressed an interest in your study and the number that are taking part as a result of using the service. Study teams need to be able to collect this data and discuss their processes with the Be Part of Research team.
Can the Be Part of Research registry be used as a feasibility tool?
To find out how many volunteers registered on our service meet your criteria please contact the Be Part of Research team. In the longer term, we are working to develop a feasibility tool that would enable you to identify volunteer data for your study.
What plans are there to further develop the service?
The service is rapidly developing and is responsive to feedback to improve the service.
The Be Part of Research registry is an additional offer that is part of Be Part of Research service. It is provided by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).