Dr Simon Kolstoe, Senior Lecturer and University Ethics Advisor at the University of Portsmouth, is playing a crucial role with Public Health England (PHE) to help the rapid response of the research community to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Kolstoe is Chair of PHE’s Research Ethics and Governance of Group (REGG), which was established to support the work of 5,500 scientists, researchers and public health professionals. The REGG forms a key element of PHE’s overall quality and governance work and provides an appropriate level of authoritative and independent review of research and non-research public health activity that involves human participants, their data and/or their tissues.
Since the first cases of COVID 19 were reported in the UK, Dr Kolstoe, as Chair of the REGG, has overseen the fast track review of 22 PHE-led studies into coronavirus. These reviews have allowed investigations to proceed quickly in a rapidly changing environment so that PHE could provide government, local government, the NHS, industry and the public with evidence-based professional and scientific knowledge for managing and controlling the spread of this disease.
Universities have been playing a vital role supporting government in providing independent advice and expertise during this crisis. It has been an honour to help PHE in this way.
Dr Kolstoe said: “Research is key for addressing the challenges of COVID-19, but even in a public emergency research needs to be ethical, rigorous and transparent. Universities have been playing a vital role supporting government in providing independent advice and expertise during this crisis. It has been an honour to help PHE in this way.”
Dr Kolstoe has brought to the group his valuable experience as Chair of the Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee, Chair of the NHS Hampshire A Research Ethics Committee and member of the Department of Health’s Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG).
Professor Bernie Hannigan, Director of Research, Translation and Innovation for PHE, said: “Simon has led the provision of a high quality, responsive review service and has been greatly valued by PHE. We would like to thank the University of Portsmouth for making him available to fulfil this role.”