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The University of Southampton

In Detail

This section outlines the stages of the BRAIN UK application process.

ENQUIRY (Optional)

If you are unsure whether samples would be available or require specific information to help you shape your study you may wish to make an informal enquiry before making a formal application.  We can search the BRAIN UK databases to gauge if enough information can be gained from these searches for a researcher to decide whether to submit an application form. Where there is not enough information available or your request is very specific, the enquiry may be forwarded to one (or more) Participating Centres for further support.

Once an answer is received, the information is given to the researcher with a copy of the application form (available from the BRAIN UK Form Store) to make an application for the samples. This stage is optional and can be done informally, by email or telephone.


Once an application form is received, it is checked to ensure that all sections have been completed and that an appropriate level of detail has been given. If any further information is required, we email the applicant for this information before submitting it for initial review. We also check that the lay summary is fit for purpose, i.e. not too technical or too much jargon etc. We may suggest some appropriate amendments or we may ask for it to be rewritten.

Then the application is sent to the BRAIN UK Director and Deputy Director for initial review. Again, if further information is required, we email the applicant for this information before submitting it to the committee for review. 

After this, the application is sent to the BRAIN UK Committee for review. This process usually lasts a week; if we know that there will be a significant delay beyond this, we will email the applicant to let them know. Once the review period is complete, we will email the applicant with either an acceptance letter, a request for further information to support the application (as requested by the Committee) or a rejection letter.


If approved, BRAIN UK will email identified Participating Centre/s asking if they are able to support the approved study. Please note, each centre has the right to refuse access to its archives irrespective of BRAIN UK approval if, for example, the samples have been allocated for a local study or if there is a perceived conflict of interest.

Once agreement has been reached with the Participating Centre, researchers will be put in contact with Participating Centres directly to arrange for material transfers and invoicing. It is the responsibility of each Participating Centre and researcher to ensure that arrangements are in place to ensure the storage, use and disposal of the samples in accordance with the Human Tissue Authority Codes of Practice, the terms of the ethical approval and any other conditions required by the Participating Centre supplying relevant material. In addition, it is the sole responsibility of the researcher to ensure that local R&D approvals have also been attained prior to undertaking any work.

Please note that costs incurred due to the retrieval, processing and transportation of tissue will be met by the researcher's grant fund. An example Material Transfer Agreement and Human Tissue Authority Post-Mortem Examination Consent Form can be found in the BRAIN UK Form Store.


Please see below for the information we require from you during the life of your project: 

Sample Information

Once you have received your tissues please would you provide the name of the Supplying Centre and the Lab Numbers to BRAIN UK. This is to facilitate sample tracking and to improve opportunities for collaboration amongst researchers using similar samples.

Cost of sample retrieval

We would like you to let us know the costs incurred for the samples (please include all costs such as any admin charges, preparation, transportation etc.). We are surveying accurate information about the cost of samples (including processing, transporting etc.) from BRAIN UK to help support future researchers' grant applications.

Research Outputs

Please make sure that you let us know of any research outputs for the project. It is really important that you keep us informed of all research outputs as the impact of BRAIN UK is, in part, measured by research outputs for projects we have supported and as such has an effect on future funding of BRAIN UK. 

Annual Review

As part of your agreement with BRAIN UK, you are required to complete an annual review.  You will be emailed when your annual review is due, the first will be due once your project has been approved for approximately 12 months. The report should be returned within two weeks of receiving the email. It is a condition of BRAIN UK's ethics that these are supplied when due.  If any of the above requested information was supplied before the review was due we will complete these sections for you.

An example annual report form can be found in the BRAIN UK Form Store.


If at any point you need to change the study or want to investigate options for expanding the scope of the project please feel free to contact us to discuss this before submitting a fresh application and we can advise on the best way to proceed with this.


Closing Report

Please let us know once your project is completed as you are then required to complete a closing report. We will also send you a letter confirming the agreement you made with BRAIN UK and any future responsibilities as well as your obligation to appropriately manage the samples after the project is closed 

An example closing report can be found in the BRAIN UK Form Store.

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