Research Ethics

The University Ethics Policy provides a general framework for professional practice and decision making on ethical issues as they arise in the work of the University.  The University Ethics Committee (UEC) is responsible for ensuring that appropriate consideration is given to ethical issues relating to the main activities of the University, including Research.  Details of UEC membership and minutes (internal link) of meetings are available.

UEC has delegated aspects of its work to Faculty Ethics Committees (FEC) which meet at regular intervals to review all ethical issues that result from activity within their Faculty's.

It is University policy that all research must be ethically reviewed. Insurance and indemnity arrangements are also often reliant upon a favourable ethics opinion.

The University publishes an annual statement outlining our compliance with the Universities UK Concordat to Support Research Integrity. Further details of the University's other Research Goverance procedures can be found here.

Ethical Review Instructions for Staff and Research Students

1. If you are unsure as to the most appropriate form of ethical review for your work, please start by using the ethics screening tool

2. If you think an application to an external ethics committee is required please see box below

3. If the ethics screening tool directs you to a Faculty Ethics Committee review (or you already know that this is required) please: 

Download application form with guidance here and submit to the relevant email address. 


Email Address for enquiries and submissions

Creative and Cultural Industries (Catherine Teeling - Chair)

CCI FEthC Terms of Reference

Humanities and Social Sciences (Dr Jane Winstone - Chair)

HSS FEthC Terms of Reference

Faculty of Business and Law (Dr Peter Scott - Chair)

BAL FEthC Terms of reference

Science (Dr Jim House - Chair)

SFEC webpage

Science FEthC terms of reference

Technology (Dr John Williams - Chair)

Technology FEthC Terms of reference

 Please note that committees may be closed during University holidays or over the summer

A version of the application form without guidance notes can be downloaded here.
Standard operating procedures for the validation and review of projects can be found here.

To notify a Faculty Ethics Committee of a substantial amendment please use this form.
To notify a Faculty Ethics Committee of the end of a study please use this form.

Dr Simon Kolstoe is the University Ethics Advisor and is the first point of contact for research ethics issues arising in Central Services and Support Departments.

Submission of Proposals to External Ethics Committees

Any application to an external ethics committee must receive sponsor sign-off from the University. To arrange this you must notify your faculty ethics committee of your intention so that any necessary advice and support can be provided. This will normally involve assurance from your head of department that the work will be conducted in accordance with the UKRIO code of practice for research.

The most obvious example of work requiring external review is any research involving NHS patients, relatives and carers, or NHS data. Ethical review forms part of the wider HRA Approvals process. Researchers must apply for HRA approval using the IRAS system.

There are also some other types of research that do not require the HRA Approvals process, but must still be reviewed by a NHS REC as a matter of law. This includes research involving human tissue, adults lacking capacity, Clinical Trials of Investigative Medicinal Products (CTIMPs), trials of medical devices, and human participant research involving ionising radiation. A useful online decision tool can be found here and applications must again be made through IRAS.

Most work funded by the MOD or including military participants (but not veterans) must be reviewed by MODREC. The requirement for MODREC review can be determined through completing the checklist found here.

Research requiring access to prisoners or prison staff must be authorised by Her Majesty's Prisoner & Probation Service - details here - prior to review by a faculty ethics committee.

It is University policy that only one formal ethical review should take place. If the review must be conducted by a NHS REC or MODREC then their opinion will suffice for University purposes. If, however, the external body states a review by them is not required, an application must be made to your faculty ethics committee instead. For instance it is possible to get HRA approval without the ethics component of the approval, in which case a faculty ethics review is required. For further guidance please contact your faculty ethics chair or the University Ethics Advisor.

Further guidance for Staff requiring an NHS Research Passport

If you are either a member of staff or research student at the University and are proposing to carry out research in the NHS, and have no ongoing contractual relationship with the NHS, you will need a Research Passport.  For further guidance please visit the HR webpage at:

Further guidance for Human Tissue Research

If your research involves working with human tissue you need to ensure you comply fully with the law. Revised Guidance for Human Tissue Research is now available to assist in this process.

Any queries regarding human tissue research should be directed to Dr Simon Kolstoe, University Ethics Adviser (



Denise Teasdale: for enquiries regarding the Universities Ethics Policy or Committee.
Dr Simon Kolstoe: for general ethics enquiries.