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Research Within the Organ Donation and Transplantation Directorate

Research and Development remains an integral part of the activities of ODT and is in line with NHSBT's strategy for research and development.

Currently, in the UK most research into the areas of organ donation and transplantation is undertaken by scientists and clinicians, largely working outside NHSBT and continues to be very successful at an international level. Transplant Units have developed their own programmes of research, often with funding from national and international bodies as well as industry. Most transplant units also have effective collaborations with more basic transplant-related research, primarily in University-supported laboratories.

This site is designed to assist the prospective researcher seeking support for their study proposal through the ODT research approval process. It will provide detail on those studies currently supported by ODT and the direction the current NHSBT R&D strategy is driving research internally.

ODT Research

Historically, UK Transplant (now NHSBT) supported a body of research focussed primarily on the considerable expertise in clinical audit and development of models of selection, allocation and outcomes. This work, delivered primarily by what is now the Department of Statistics and Clinical Audit (which sits within the Clinical Directorate), was done in conjunction with the clinicians working through the Advisory Groups.

This work has attracted international acclaim and has had a considerable impact on the national and international reputation of NHSBT as well as directly contributing to better patient outcomes. On a smaller scale, Advisory Groups have worked to support clinical trials. The research done in ODT has been largely supported by research grants. The Directions for NHSBT do require NHSBT to ‘conduct or commission such research with the field of organ donation and transplantation as NHSBT considers appropriate’ (3(1)(k)).

The merger of UKT with National Blood Service to form NHSBT has, amongst other consequences, allowed ODT access to some of the resources within the combined organisation. This resource has resulted in several initiatives, including access to NHSBT R&D funding which has supported several studies and clinical fellows.

Quality in Organ Donation

Currently, NHSBT R&D is funding a programme, Quality in Organ Donation (QUOD), the Principal Investigator is Professor Rutger Ploeg, Department of Surgery, University of Oxford . QUOD has developed a bioresource of well characterised material which will allow recipient outcomes to be traced and help researchers to improve the quality of donated organs it will also provide a focus for stimulating research further. This website can be directly accessed through .

Visit the QUOD website

Read the NHSBT Triennial reports

The ODT Research Handbook: How to obtain support

The ODT Research Handbook provides prospective applicants with guidelines on how to obtain support for their research studies. 

The handbook is provided for prospective applicants wishing to obtain access to organ donors and/or 'relevant material'1 from donors for research purposes. This document contains details of the various approvals, documents, and stakeholder engagement required to gain approval from NHSBT ODT, via the Research, Innovation and Novel Technologies Advisory Group (RINTAG), and where appropriate ODT Senior Management Team (SMT).

1'Relevant material' from deceased donors refers to the definition set out by the HTA and encompasses solid organs, associated tissues and/ or biopsy samples.

Executive Summary

This document outlines the NHSBT ODT approval process to obtain support for research studies.

In summary:

  • Researchers are encouraged to engage early with the NHSBT ODT Research Project Manager.
  • The ODT Research Facilitation Team will provide advice on governance and operational considerations of a study.
  • Studies will be categorised according to their nature to guide the subsequent approval route. The categorisation will inform which documents and operational considerations are required.
  • The Research Project Manager will facilitate submission to the Research, Innovation and Novel Technologies Advisory Group (RINTAG), for review.
  • RINTAG will score and rank studies requiring access to organs via the national research allocation scheme, according to a prioritisation matrix.
  • The approval timeframe varies between study categories. NHSBT ODT is committed to keeping timescales to a minimum. In some cases, final approval will be required from the ODT Senior Management Team (SMT).
  • Before a study can commence, the CI will be required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, which outlines their responsibilities and compliance with regulations.
  • Researchers with active studies are expected to provide annual progress reports to ODT. This will be requested by the Research Project Manager for improvement and monitoring purposes.


To view the handbook and appendices, please see the table below.


The Research, Innovation and Novel Technologies Advisory Group has developed from the Novel Technologies in Organ Transplantation Working Party, with the aims of providing NHSBT and other stakeholders with an overview of current innovations and supporting the implementation of appropriately approved and funded research, innovations and service development, horizon scanning and working with commissioners and others to ensure the introduction of novel approaches to improve the outcomes of patients undergoing solid organ transplantation, in line with the UK Strategy 'Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020'.

Find out more information about RINTAG 


Before submitting your research application, it is essential that you read through the research approval process.

View the research approval process


Through the Research Project Manager, ODT provides assistance and advice to researchers wanting to undertake research that involves any aspect of ODT's activities or requires support from ODT. By working closely with researchers ODT aims to provide a streamlined service to support the stimulation, development and set-up of clinical research.

All enquiries regarding research within ODT should be initially directed to the Research Project Manager - ODT, Maria McGee

Contact the ODT Research Project Manager

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