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CRN Greater Manchester COVID-19 Research Hub - FAQs for Staff



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These FAQs are for NHS Trust staff, primary care staff and those not currently employed by the NHS. FAQs are updated regularly. If your question is not answered below, please contact 


How do I help/register my interest?

If you’d like to get involved and support our efforts to find safe and effective treatments plus a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19, please text RESEARCH to 78900. We will send you an Expression of Interest Form by immediate return.

The form will be reviewed by hospital Research Shift Co-ordinators within the borough(s) you have chosen. They will respond directly (within 5 working days) to either request a further conversation with you, or to inform you that they have shift cover for the present. You are welcome to then apply in different boroughs or to re-apply to the same borough at a later date.

How do I ask a question about the expression of interest form?

If your question is not answered either here in the FAQ section or within the form, please contact  


What area does Greater Manchester cover?

Greater Manchester - for research delivery - covers a broader area than you may expect. It covers the 10 GM local authorities, plus East Lancashire and East Cheshire.

When will the trials start?

COVID-19 vaccine trials are already being delivered across Greater Manchester, with more studies planned for the Winter and Spring 2021. COVID-19 research began last Spring and continues today. These studies/trials will last for the next 12-15 months. Exact start dates will be discussed following receipt of your expression of interest.

How much time commitment is expected of me?

We can provide flexible shift and working patterns in discussion with your line manager and the hub management team.

For volunteers - each NHS employer will have a volunteer deployment policy which will set out expected commitments. This is related to the need for pre-deployment checks.

How will shifts be rostered?

All shifts will be rostered in agreement with yourself and the Research Shift Co-ordinator you connect with.

Where will I be based?

In the form, we have asked you to consider which local authority region you wish to work within. For most applicants, you will understand which employers sit in that region so you may receive a response from any.

For example, if you live in Sale or Levenshulme, you may receive a response from a research shift co-ordinator at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT, the employer) which includes the central Manchester hospitals on the Oxford Road Campus, Wythenshawe Hospital and Trafford General.

Depending on the information you return, you may also receive a response from Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust as they are sited in the same geographic region.

NB - MFT is currently the sole organisation while we trial a soft launch of this initiative.

Is parking available on-site?

It is likely that parking will be available, please discuss this with the Research Shift Co-ordinator. The cost of parking will be reimbursed to volunteers.

Is the site accessible by public transport?

It is likely that this will be the case, but for some large-scale studies, organisations are using non-NHS sites such as leisure centres. Please discuss this with the Research Shift Co-ordinator.

What will the arrangement be in relation to COVID-19 infection control measures?

Please discuss this with the Research Shift Co-ordinator.

Contractual arrangements and pay

Will I be paid for my time and if so who by?

Please discuss this with the Research Shift Co-ordinator.

Depending on your entry into research deployment, there will need to be different arrangements in place. For some roles, a temporary contract with the employer may be put in place. For others, a staff bank system will be utilised and you may need to join that. If you are on a bank such as NHS Professionals (NHSP) and the receiving organisation can work with that, your payment is likely to be via NHSP. Medics will need to be registered with a medical bank if not already.

Volunteer roles will be unpaid.

How much will I get paid?

Banding and pay scales for non-medical roles will depend upon role and experience. Please discuss this with the Research Shift Co-ordinator.

How often will I be paid?

Please discuss this with the Research Shift Co-ordinator. It is usual for this to be on a monthly basis.

Will I be paid travelling time/mileage?

This depends on what will be considered as your base for this specific role. Please discuss this with the Research Shift Co-ordinator.

Training and professional registration

What training or experience do I need?

This depends on the role you will play. If you are not currently employed and are then deployed (paid or unpaid) to support this initiative, you will need to work through the employer’s induction programme as a minimum. All staff will also receive an on-site induction by a member of the team they are joining.

Research-Specific Training

You do not have to be experienced in research to get involved. Full training and support will be provided to enable you to contribute safely & effectively.

Depending on your role and previous experience, research-specific training may be online or face to face. You will be given a training profile that’s commensurate to the role you will play and a list of training courses to complete.

Vaccine-Specific Training

A national vaccine trials training package has been developed by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN), with bespoke training pathways for each group of staff.

Accessing the NIHR National Vaccine Training Package

If you are an NHS-employed healthcare professional and wish to plan ahead, the NIHR's National Vaccine Training Package is held on NIHR Learn. To access this and register, please take a look at our guide, Get started with NIHR Learn.

You will need to register for an account using your NHS or academic email address and then access the training suite by selecting 'COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Training' from the banner menu at the top of the landing page.

For each job role, there is a curated series of essential, desirable and optional training. For some users, it is clear which training path to take. Others - please wait until you have a conversation with a Research Shift Co-ordinator.

How long will the training take?

The length of training required will depend upon your role, previous experience and responsibilities.

When will the training start?

For those who can create a NIHR Learn account, online training can be undertaken at any time upon registering your interest. However, there will be a proportionate training plan created for you. You may wish to wait for this.

Is the training Continuous Professional Development (CPD) accredited?

Yes, some of the training courses are CPD accredited.

Ensuring the safety of staff and research participants

Will PPE be provided?

Yes, appropriate PPE will be provided to all members of staff. All research participants will be required to have a temperature and COVID-19 symptom check upon arrival. Symptomatic patients and staff will not be permitted entry to the site and will be provided with advice in line with current government guidance. All research participants will be required to use alcohol hand gel, wear a face covering and follow social distancing guidelines where appropriate.

Will uniform be provided?

Clinical staff are required to wear their usual clinical uniforms, medical staff should wear scrubs and non-clinical staff should wear smart clothing in accordance with the new employer’s appearance policy. Please ensure you discuss uniform/clothing with the Research Shift Co-ordinator.

Will I be dealing with volunteers who have COVID-19?

Vaccine studies recruit healthy volunteers. All research participants will be required to have a temperature and COVID-19 symptom check upon arrival. Symptomatic patients and staff will not be permitted entry to the site. A very small group of clinical staff will be needed to work with symptomatic patients - this will need to be discussed with the Research Shift Co-ordinator.

Other studies may proactively recruit patients who are COVID-19 positive. However, roles through this initiative are highly unlikely to be patient-facing. Again, this will need to be discussed with the Research Shift Co-ordinator.

Am I more at risk of contracting Covid-19 if I work at the vaccine hub?

NHS Employer occupational health and infection prevention and control departments have assessed each vaccine site. Please discuss this with the Research Shift Co-ordinator.

I am an existing NHS employee. How will you ensure that my research is compliant with my occupational health Covid-19 risk assessment?

To ensure we are aware of and can fully support staff working on these studies, the Research Shift Co-ordinator will require you to provide information on your COVID-19 Occupational Health Risk Assessment. These will be confidentially reviewed by senior nursing staff for the study who will discuss with you any occupational health recommendations and supportive actions that may be required to facilitate you joining the team. Please be assured that this information will be dealt with sensitively and confidentially.

Will I have to participate in a weekly COVID-19 asymptomatic swab testing programme?

All staff working on these important COVID-19 vaccine studies are required to participate in asymptomatic staff testing programmes, according to the plan set by the employing organisation.

I am currently shielding; can I still help out?

There are a range of roles that can be undertaken remotely from a home base. Please discuss this with the Research Shift Co-ordinator.

Do I need to have a flu vaccination?

Yes if this is recommended for you, you should follow the advice of your employer’s occupational health service and/or GP regarding seasonal flu vaccination. Do not put off flu vaccination, as it will give you important protection.


Am I able to see people I know on a study/trial?

Potentially yes, although normal data protection and NHS confidentiality applies.