Students Staff

Ethical Approval: Resources for Committees

The University operates a tiered approach to ethics review based on an assessment of the risks involved to research participants, both subjects and investigators.

Research assessed to be of high risk must be referred to the University’s Ethics Committee by a Faculty Ethics Sub-Committee. A list of such research is provided in Annex A. Research assessed to be of low risk may be reviewed within a department and approved by the departmental Ethics Officer on behalf of the Faculty Ethics Sub-Committee. A list of such research is provided in Annex B. All other research will be reviewed and approved by a Faculty Ethics Sub-Committee. However, it should be noted that Ethics Officers may always ask the Faculty Ethics Sub-Committee to review an application involving protocols and techniques which appear in Annex B if they wish to do so. It is also open to the Faculty Ethics Sub-Committee to seek advice in relation to an application which does not involve activities listed in Annex A.

Departmental contacts and committee information

The University's Ethics Committee, a committee of Senate, undertakes the following core activities:

  1. Development of policy and guidance
  2. Provision of oversight for all research-related ethical issues
  3. Assessment of applications for ethical approval only when referred by a Faculty Ethics Sub-Committee (ESC)
  4. Hearing of appeals against decisions made by ESCs (an appeal against a decision made by the University’s Ethics Committee when considering an application for ethical approval will be heard by a specially convened committee);
  5. Maintenance of interaction with NHS research ethics committees
  6. Maintenance of interaction with other external research ethics committees (for example, that of the MoD) where appropriate
  7. Receipt of annual reports from Faculty Ethics Sub-Committees
  8. Audit of a sample of applications processed by ESCs to ensure that there is consistency in ESCs working across the University
  9. Provision of an annual report to Senate which includes a summary of the decisions made in response to applications for ethical approval in the previous year by the Ethics Committee and all ESCs.

Terms of reference

  1. To advise the Senate on matters pertaining to the ethics of research.
  2. To review proposals for research involving human participants to be carried out in the University or within the area of its authority.
  3. To review proposals for research involving human participants to be carried out by staff and students of the University in places other than the University. Where there is no ethics committee at the other institution, the University's Ethics Committee will act. Where a committee exists at the other institution, the University's Ethics Committee must be notified and will determine whether or not to be involved.
  4. To provide authoritative and definitive guidance to the University on any specific ethics problem that it refers to the Committee.
  5. To make an annual report to the Senate.

Members

Ex officio (academic members)

  • Vice-Chancellor: Professor Anthony Forster
  • Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research): Professor Christine Raines (Chair)
  • Dean of Postgraduate Research and Education: Professor Martyna Sliwa
  • Head of Health and Safety: Claire Saunders
  • Information Assurance Manager: Sara Stock
  • Research Governance and Planning Manager: Sarah Manning-Press
  • Vice-President (Education), Students’ Union: tbc

Appointed members (lay members)

  • Dr Libby Bishop
  • Professor Tony Elston
  • Dawn King
  • Professor Wayne Martin
  • Professor Sabine Michalowski
  • Auriol Stevens
  • One vacancy

There are three Faculty Ethics Sub-Committees (ESC):

  • The Humanities ESC
  • The Science and Health ESC
  • The Social Science ESC
  • Meeting Dates 2017/18

    PDF document
    (108kb)

    Faculty Ethics Sub-Committees (ESC) Meeting Dates for 2017/18. Includes the latest date to receive applications for ESC review and date of meeting.

Each ESC assesses applications for ethical approval passed to them by the departmental Ethics Officer in accordance with the procedures below. The ESC:

  1. refers applications back to an applicant via the departmental Ethics Officer where change, clarification or additional information is required;
  2. grants approval for applications within the Faculty; or
  3. refers an application to the Ethics Committee. The criteria to assist ESCs in deciding whether to refer an application to the Ethics Committee are set out in Annex A.

All application forms are signed by the Chair of the ESC once approval has been granted. The full application is returned to the relevant department and a copy of the signed application form cover sheets (the first two pages) must be sent to the Research Governance and Planning Manager as Secretary of the University Ethics Committee. The department will retain a copy of the full application for six years following completion of the project.

Each ESC provides an annual report to the University Ethics Committee summarising all decisions made in relation to applications received during the previous academic year. These annual reports are used to assist in the compilation of the University Ethics Committee's annual report to Senate.

Membership comprises the departmental Ethics Officers of the departments in the Faculty represented, one of whom acts as the chair of the ESC (rotating for one year).

Members

Faculty of Humanities

Faculty of Science and Health

Faculty of Social Sciences

All applications are assessed by the Ethics Officer of the appropriate department in the first instance. Ethical approval can be granted by the departmental Ethics Officer if the project only involves the procedures listed on the approved list given in Annex B. Otherwise, having ensured that any queries have been revised with and addressed by the applicant, the application must be referred to the Faculty Ethics Sub-Committee (ESC) indicating the reason for so doing.

On approval, signed application form cover sheets (the first two pages) must be sent to the Research Governance and Planning Manager as Secretary of the University Ethics Committee. The full copy of all applications is retained by the department for six years after the project has been completed.

Each departmental Ethics Officer provides an annual report to the appropriate ESC summarising all decisions made in relation to applications received during the previous academic year.

Resources