Subdomain applications

All NIHR Comms


Subdomains, a stand-alone website with the domain name, allow differentiation between different parts of the NIHR and provide a home for information about that part of the NIHR.

The main NIHR domain is, while subdomains follow the format 

Some examples of websites on the NIHR subdomain include the websites of:

As each subdomain forms a representative part of the NIHR brand, it is important that any website hosted on an NIHR subdomain presents a consistent style and message. Below are the criteria that any subdomain must meet, alongside ongoing requirements that the user must agree to as part of the  Acceptable Use Policy for all NIHR websites.

If an NIHR sub-logo has been issued for a part of infrastructure, school, scheme or individual unit, an NIHR subdomain should be considered for any stand-alone website representing that part of the NIHR. Hosting a website or pages on an existing authoritative site such as a host institution’s website will be acceptable subject to meeting the required elements of the Acceptable Use Policy.

Websites on the NIHR subdomain are required to represent the NIHR brand as outlined in the NIHR visual identity guidance, including displaying the appropriate NIHR sub-logo. We also recommend that websites on the NIHR subdomain follow some or all of the design principles of the main NIHR website, to help us curate subdomain websites as a family of sites that have a level of consistency and are immediately recognisable as being ‘NIHR’.

Eligibility criteria

Below is a list of criteria for the approval and issue of an NIHR subdomain. These should be read alongside the Acceptable Use Policy that all subdomain owners must read as part of the process to request a subdomain. It will be assumed that these criteria are agreed upon submitting your application for an NIHR subdomain, and compliance will be periodically reviewed.

  1. The request must be made on behalf of:
    1. a funded, designated part of NIHR's infrastructure, schools or units
    2. an infrastructure grouping/scheme
    3. an NIHR service delivered by a coordinating centre (e.g. the NIHR Journals Library and Be Part of Research)
    4. a partnership for which the delivery of a website is managed at a corporate or coordinating centre level (e.g. James Lind Alliance or Join Dementia Research)
    5. a password protected IT service (e.g. a grant or portfolio management system). (This group of websites is exempt from Acceptable Use Policy conditions 1.6, 2.1 & 2.2.2 ). 
  2. Subdomains should have an external audience (where the audience is wholly internal, an unlisted Google Site should be used).
  3. Resources must be available to ensure adequate maintenance of the website to ensure that content is kept up to date.
  4. To be granted a subdomain for an individual-level part of NIHR infrastructure (e.g. a unit) that forms part of a scheme, the individual parts of that scheme must have a distinctively different offer, e.g. a different medical discipline. Where an infrastructure group provides the same offer, e.g. on a geographical basis, a scheme-wide subdomain will be recommended (subject to clarity on how it will be maintained).
  5. All subdomains should follow the standard website naming convention described in the application process.
  6. A named subdomain owner must be specified. They will be responsible for the ongoing adherence to the Acceptable Use Policy.

Reasons a subdomain may not be granted

  1. A subdomain will not be granted where there is an existing subdomain for that infrastructure, school or unit.
  2. Individual research projects funded by NIHR research programmes and other time-limited projects, i.e. those that exist only for a set amount of time, will not be granted subdomains. In such instances, a page on the website of the host institution would be more appropriate. 

Subdomain application process

Please speak to your coordinating centre comms team, e.g. CCF Comms, ahead of submitting a subdomain application.

  1. Ensure that all the subdomain criteria above have been met. If they are not, the application will be rejected. 
  2. Once all criteria are met, a form should be completed via the NIHR Service Desk via the “Request New Subdomain” ticket.  
  3. The following questions will be asked as part of that form:
    1. What is the requested subdomain URL? (see below for naming conventions)
    2. Who is the intended audience for this site? (internal/inside NIHR, external/outside NIHR, or both internal and external)
    3. What are the user goals?
    4. What are the business goals?
    5. What features/functionality does your subdomain require?
    6. Does the subdomain fulfil the criteria in the NIHR websites Acceptable Use Policy?
  4. A subdomain owner must be specified in the initial application. They will be responsible for the ongoing adherence to the Acceptable Use Policy.
  5. Once submitted, the application will be distributed for approval. Outcomes will usually be provided within 2-4 weeks. 

The requested subdomain URL should follow the  existing subdomain naming convention in place for that scheme, e.g. or For new schemes or parts of the NIHR, the following naming conventions apply for subdomain URLs:

  1. Parts of the NIHR with a national remit follow the convention
  2. Parts of the NIHR with a regional or specialist/discipline specific remit within an NIHR-wide scheme should separate the scheme type from the location or specialism using a hyphen
    The location or specialism my be abbreviated e.g. or
  3. Any nested subdomains (i.e. or subdomains not following the above format will be rejected.

Any subdomains that are approved will become active, and the designated subdomain owner will be alerted. Any subdomains that are rejected will not become active, and the designated site owner will receive an email indicating the reason for the rejection.

The NIHR Service Desk can also support with requesting a DNS change for your subdomain website and creating or renewing an SSL certificate.

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