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Guide for researchers

The information on this page gives prospective researchers an overview of what conducting research within Brainkind might entail.

brain injury research guide

Before making enquiries or submitting an application, please consider the following:

Research Group Meetings

Brainkind’s Research Group meets every month to review new project proposals and evaluate and advise on the implications for future research and practice that may result from completed projects.

If you are a researcher planning to submit a proposal, please refer to our research approval process and application checklist, which overview the areas covered in our reviews. The approval process is available to download here, and the application checklist is available here.

Approval Process

Our research group must review all projects carried out within Brainkind. The group meets every second Tuesday of the month, and we encourage researchers to submit applications at least two weeks in advance. Depending on the type of project (audit, evaluation or research), a review by the Health Research Authority (HRA) may also be required. This may include certain forms of single case studies. For more information on approvals or to obtain an initial application form, please email

Advertising a project

We often receive requests from researchers to advertise their study to our stakeholders, staff and the people we support.

These projects need to be reviewed by our research group. If you want us to advertise your study, please email to apply for review.

Recruiting volunteers

When planning your project and the time required to prepare your application, please consider the following:


  • All projects, including those which seek to recruit staff as participants, require review by Brainkind.
  • Clearly state and justify any staff time required in your study proposal.

People we support

  • Projects that seek to engage the people we support within our services, their families or informal carers as participants are likely to require Health Research Authority approval as well as ethics review by other institutions (e.g. universities).
  • Consider the inclusion and exclusion criteria for your study and whether these are consistent with the clinical profile of the people we support at Brainkind.

We support adults with complex and high dependency needs resulting from various conditions, including acquired brain injury such as traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, arthritis, stroke, multiple sclerosis and disabilities resulting from accidents (e. g. spinal cord injury). Our annual brain injury reports detail the demographic and clinical characteristics of the people we serve in our rehabilitation and residential support centres.

All people supported in rehabilitation

  • Have moderate to severe brain injury.
  • Are in the post-acute stage of recovery (median time since injury ≃ seven months).

Impact on care, treatment, and service delivery

  • All of the people in our services are engaged in active rehabilitation or support, so it is important to minimise the time taken away from participation in their care and treatment. If your study protocol requires a lot of time from the people we support, it may not be feasible for us to implement it in our services.
  • Many of the people we support may present with fatigue, low self-awareness or have communication difficulties. This should be considered when developing the study protocol and preparing materials. The content of the study materials should take into account the stage of recovery of the potential volunteers. The risk of distress associated with approaching certain topics may be more significant in the people you are hoping to recruit than in other populations.
  • Researchers may be asked to reimburse services for any costs resulting from staff involvement, either as participants or to support the people we serve to take part (for example, if a staff member were needed to accompany a person we support throughout a study session, a replacement may be required to maintain the appropriate level of staffing).
  • Please contact our research team as soon as possible if you are considering applying. We will help you ensure your study design is feasible within our services.


Brainkind is not a grant-giving institution. However, if you believe your study is in line with our areas of interest, we may be able to contribute to a collaborative project. Please note that researchers are responsible for all extra costs incurred by the Brainkind from hosting a research project, such as those arising from arranging cover staff.

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