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The Science Faculty Ethics Committee (SFEC) is responsible to the University Ethics Committee (UEC) for ethical review of all scientific research, testing and practical teaching sessions undertaken by staff or students of the Faculty of Science.

This page outlines the procedures to be followed when applying for ethical review and gives details of how reviews will be conducted. These procedures have evolved over a number of years and were most recently approved by the UEC.

Submitting an application to SFEC

  • The principal investigator (PI) should download a copy of the current application form and guidance from the UoP main ethics webpage.
  • When the application document has been completed, it should be scientifically reviewed by a researcher experienced in this area of research. For PgRs it is generally the first supervisor who undertakes the scientific review, and for staff researchers this can also be one of the co-investigators (CIs) although reviews are also welcomed from other researchers, including those external to UoP if that is the most appropriate review. The reviewer and PI should complete the SFEC Scientific Review Declaration (see below) and include it as an Annex / Appendix to their submitted application form.
  • Submit your application, ideally with associated documents enclosed as an Annex / Appendix to the main application document where possible to PgRs should ensure that their supervisor(s) are CC’d on the submission email to SFEC.
  • SFEC administrators will quickly check your documents, and will confirm receipt of your application within 1 working day, and circulate to the Committee for review. If the SFEC administration office is closed you will receive an out-of-office reply indicating when you will receive a confirmation of your application. If you do not receive an acknowledgement within 1 working day then your application might not have been received, and you should check with the administration office (x3379).
  • The application will be reviewed by the Committee and PIs can expect a written response within 15 working days.
  • If the PI is required to respond to review queries and resubmit, the resubmission will normally be re-assessed and a response issued within 7 working days, but responses can take up to 15 working days if the resubmission is substantial or significant ethical issues remain.

SFEC meets approximately every eight weeks. Reviews are conducted virtually using a dedicated SFEC Moodle site and separate review forum for each application. Review panels meet ad hoc as required where there are significant issues to resolve.

Summary of SFEC Review timescales

Mindful of the close-down periods given below, SFEC will review submissions and will respond to PIs as follows:

  • New applications - 15 working days.
  • Resubmitted applications - Normally 7 working days*
  • Notifications of Substantial Amendment - Normally 7 working days*

*These 7 day response periods might be extended to up to 15 working days if the resubmission or amendment is substantial or there are significant unresolved ethical issues.

The response times are standard working days so do not include the UoP Christmas shut-down period, Good Friday, Easter Monday, or UK Bank Holidays. Additionally, SFEC is generally closed for reviews in August - please see the SFEC Close-Down Periods page for details

Ethical opinions

After considering applications, SFEC will provide one of the following opinions:

A. Favourable opinion.

B. Favourable opinion with condition(s) - A final updated proposal should be lodged with the SFEC before commencing the study, in accordance with the conditions given in the opinion letter, but no further review required, unless the PI needs to challenge / amend any of the conditions.

C. Questions following ethical review - An issue or number of issues should be addressed by the PI before resubmitting the proposal for further review.

D. No opinion possible - There are insufficient details provided in the proposal to give an opinion. The PI should update the proposal and resubmit.

E. Unfavourable opinion - The proposal in its current form is not considered appropriate for a favourable ethical opinion.

SFEC Scientific Review Form Docx

Download the Scientific Review & Principal Investigator Response to Review