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  1. Research ethics
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Research

Ethics: Frequently Asked Questions

Information specific to Senate Research Ethics Committee

Who needs to apply?

All research involving human participants or identifiable personal information has some ethical implications. Even if the research is low risk, issues such as data protection, confidentiality and anonymity need to be considered. There is also a widening body of professional and legal requirements with which research projects must comply. Ethical approval must be obtained before any research involving human participants or identifiable personal data is undertaken. The institution's indemnity insurance will not cover research without approval and failure to obtain approval may also result in disciplinary procedures being instigated. It may also mean that the research findings cannot subsequently be published.

The responsibility to obtain ethics clearance applies to all research projects which involve human participants, not just work in the field of medical experimentation.

PLEASE NOTE:

  1. There are no exceptions, exclusions or blanket permissions.
  2. Insurance cover may not apply if a research ethics committee has not cleared the research activity.

Where do I need to apply?

The first place to start is your School Research Ethics Committee, although depending on the nature of the research or agreed School arrangements, the application may be referred to Senate Research Ethics Committee.

The requirement for approval will be proportionate to the level of risk involved in the activity. Below are some examples of activities for which you will need to obtain research ethics approval:

  • interviews
  • observation of human behaviour
  • circulation of a questionnaire to any of the following: children (those under 18), those unable to give informed consent, minority groups, vulnerable categories, pregnant women or women in labour and persons with a physical or mental disability
  • conduct of a survey involving a volunteer sample of any of the following: children (those under 18), those unable to give informed consent, minority groups,  vulnerable categories, pregnant women or women in labour and persons with a physical or mental disability
  • research on any of the following: children (those under 18), those unable to give informed consent, minority groups, vulnerable categories, pregnant women or women in labour and persons with a physical or mental disability, studying illegal activities
  • studying illegal activities (requires submission to Senate Research Ethics Committee)
  • research on human tissue (requires submission to Senate Research Ethics Committee).

Who is the Principal Investigator?

In the case of a staff member conducting research, that staff member is the Principal Investigator.

In the case of students, whilst the student may be the principal researcher, for the purposes of the institution the supervisor must act as the Principal Investigator and must sign as such on the application form. This is because the supervisor is a City staff member (usually) and must sign the application to undertake responsibility for the conduct of the research.

Can I get ethical clearance to use data I have already collected?

Retrospective approval of research protocols cannot be given.

Where do I apply for approval to conduct research in Schools?

If you wish to conduct research involving City staff or students, you will need to obtain approval from the Head of Department, the Associate Dean for Research or the Dean of the School before you can proceed.

Researchers wishing to recruit staff or students from City, University of London will need to submit a request to the Senate Research Ethics Committee Secretary. This includes City staff and/or students who have obtained approval from a research ethics committee external to the institution. Guidelines for how to apply for approval to recruit staff and/or students can be found here.

Applications must be completed and emailed to:
Anna Ramberg
Secretary, Senate Research Ethics Committee
Research & Enterprise
Tel. 020 7040 3040
Email: Anna.Ramberg.1@city.ac.uk

Ethical queries can be addressed to either:
Anna Ramberg
Secretary, Senate Research Ethics Committee
Research & Enterprise
Tel. 020 7040 3040
Email: Anna.Ramberg.1@city.ac.uk

Or

Professor Ron Douglas
Chair, Senate Research Ethics Committee
Division of Optometry and Visual Science
Tel. 020 7040 8334
Email: R.H.Douglas@city.ac.uk

Where can I get information on the ethical principles which are considered in the approval process?

Senate Research Ethics Committee

When should I apply?

Researchers should apply as soon as a research proposal has been developed. Please do not leave it to the last minute! Senate Research Ethics Committee meets four times a year to consider research proposals. Proposals will not be considered outside the committee unless they meet the criteria for Chair's Action. (Dates and submission deadlines for School/Department Research Ethics Committees can be obtained from your School for proposals which meet the criteria for local approval.)

Senate Research Ethics Committee requires that proposals are submitted two weeks in advance of the meeting. The dates for 2017/2018 are as follows:

Deadline: 20 September 2017
Meeting: 4 October 2017
Decision emailed by: 18 October 2017

Deadline: 30 November 2017
Meeting: 14 December 2017
Decision emailed by: 4 January 2018

Deadline: 31 January 2018
Meeting: 14 February 2018
Decision emailed by: 28 February 2018

Deadline: 18 April 2018
Meeting: 2 May 2018
Decision emailed by: 16 May 2018

Deadline: 18 June 2018
Meeting: 27 June 2018
Decision emailed by: 11 July 20

All papers must be emailed by 12 noon by the deadline date to the Secretary to Senate Research Ethics Committee.

What should I submit with the application?

The application form must be completed and emailed to the Secretary to Senate Research Ethics Committee Anna.Ramberg.1@city.ac.uk.

Most applications will require a participant information sheet and a consent form. Copies of questionnaires and interview questions to be used in connection with the research must be provided to the Committee with your application. For informal interviews a one-page summary of discussion topics should be provided. If letters of permission from organisations are necessary, copies of these should be attached.

Templates for the participant information sheet and consent form are at the back of the application form.

When will I know if the application is approved?

Emails are sent after the meeting. You should hear within 10 working days of the committee meeting.

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