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 an Ethics Sub-Committee. A list of such research is provided in Annex A (.pdf). Research assessed to be of low risk may be reviewed within a department and approved by the departmental Ethics Officer on behalf of the Ethics Sub-Committee. A list of such research is provided in Annex B (.pdf). All other research will be reviewed and approved by an Ethics Sub-Committee. However, it should be noted that Ethics Officers may always ask the 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 Ethics Sub-Committee to seek advice in relation to an application which does not involve activities listed in Annex A.
The University's Ethics Committee, a committee of Senate, undertakes the following core activities:
Dr Caroline Lohmann-Hancock
There are three Ethics Sub-Committees (ESC). From the start of the coming academic year 2020-21, the three Ethics Sub-Committees will be cross-faculty, each chaired by a Deputy Dean (Research) with the following structure:
The Ethics Sub-Committees (ESC) Meeting Dates (.pdf) for 2022/23, including the latest date to receive applications for ESC review and date of meeting.
Applications for ethical approval will normally be reviewed by the Ethics Sub-Committee on which the departmental Ethics Officer sits.
Each ESC assesses applications for ethical approval passed to them by the departmental Ethics Officer in accordance with the procedures below. The ESC:
All Applications are reviewed and outcomes are recorded in ERAMS by the Chair of the ESC once approval has been granted.
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 covered by the ESC represented and a Deputy Dean (Research) to act as Chair for each ESC.
All applications are assessed by the Ethics Officer of the appropriate department using ERAMS 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 an Ethics Sub-Committee (ESC) indicating the reason for so doing.
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.