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, Teaching and Innovation. Details of UEC membership and minutes (internal link) of meetings are available.

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 and a general checklist of responsibilities for staff/student conducting research here.

Ethics Review Instructions for Staff and Research Students

Ensuring an appropriate ethics review is one of a number of responsibilities that need to be fulfilled by researchers. All researchers and research managers/supervisors should ensure they have taken into account the responsibilities summarised IN THIS DOCUMENT

1. If you are unsure as to the most appropriate form of ethics review for your work, please start by using the ethics screening tool (only available on-site or using a secure vpn connection).

2. If you think an application to an external ethics committee is required please see grey box further down this page

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 faculty email address: 


Email Address for enquiries and submissions

Creative and Cultural Industries (Catherine Teeling - Chair)

CCI FEthC Terms of Reference

Humanities and Social Sciences (Richard Hitchcock - Chair)

HSS FEthC Terms of Reference

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

BAL FEthC Terms of reference

Science (Dr Paul Morris - 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

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. Ethics 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 ethics 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, 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. Guidance for Human Tissue Research is 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.