Students Staff

Ethical Approval: Resources for Applicants

Before you begin the application process please ensure you have consulted the guidelines for ethical approval. This document sets out the University requirements. This includes the protection and rights of participants and our requirements for informed consent.

Research must not commence until written approval has been received. This should be borne in mind when setting a start date for the project. Ethical approval cannot be granted retrospectively and failure to obtain ethical approval prior to data collection will mean that these data cannot be used.

Application Review Processes

University Ethics Review

A completed application form, together with a copy of your research proposal and any necessary supporting documentation (e.g. participant information sheet, consent form, recruiting materials, etc.), should be submitted by email to your departmental Ethics Officer. You must ensure the application is fully signed so students must obtain the signature of their supervisor who is confirming the quality of both the research proposal and the application before submission.

Resources

HRA Review

If your project involves NHS participants it may require a review through the Health Research Authority (HRA). Any application to the HRA will need to be authorised by the Research Governance and Planning Manager so it is important that you contact Beverley Pascoe, Research Governance Officer, as soon as possible in order for her to provide you with help and advice about the process.

There are various bodies that may or may not need to review your application depending on the project to be undertaken and the participants involved. In addition, if your research requires a review by one of UK Health Departments’ Research Ethics Service Committees, you will not need to seek a full ethics review through the University’s review processes.

The following points may help you to get started:

  • Projects involving the NHS may be classified by the University as research but may not be so classified by the HRA, e.g. service evaluations and audits. The HRA will only review a project defined as research by the HRA, please refer to the HRA Decision Tool. In cases where the project has not been defined as research by the HRA, ethical approval will need to be sought through the University’s ethics review processes (see University Ethics Review tab).

  • Whatever approvals are required through the HRA you will need to develop this in the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) and, once formally authorised, electronically submit the form and supporting documents. There is comprehensive question-specific guidance available and it is essential that you follow this closely.

  • New applicants, who have not made an IRAS application, may wish to download the Application Process Flowchart. The flowchart provides a clear map of the tasks involved, with links to other on-line resources relevant to each stage. The system has an e-learning module, which is free to use and does not require registration or a login. The e-learning module may be accessed here.

  • But do not forget you should not develop NHS applications until you have discussed this with the unit in which you wish to undertake the research.

Resources

MoD Ethics Review

Does your research involve the Ministry of Defence or serving members of the military? If so, you will need to make an application to MoDREC.

Please contact this office at an early stage if such an application is required.