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  1. Research ethics
  2. Ethics approval process
  3. Outcomes and appeals
Research

Outcomes and appeals

Once your application form has been reviewed by one of City’s research ethics committees, you will be notified of the outcome of the review. Any requests for amendments or clarifications will be outlined in the correspondence from the research ethics committee.

Application outcome decisions

Possible application outcome decisions are as follows:

Approved as submitted

The research ethics committee is content that the study does not raise any ethical issues and no amendments to the application or the recruitment documents are required.

Approved with conditions

The research ethics committee is content that the study does not raise any ethical issues and the application is approved subject to some minor specified conditions/changes to the application (e.g. the wording of a section of the PIS).

No resubmission is required and the Committee does not need to see evidence of the changes. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that students have made the requested changes before data collection begins.

Request amendments

Minor amendments/clarifications (to be approved by Chair's action):

Some minor amendments/clarification are required before approval can be granted.

Major amendments (to be reviewed again by a sub-committee or a research ethics committee):

The applicant is required to address the amendments/clarifications requested by the research ethics committee and submit them for review either by a sub-committee or a full research ethics committee meeting.

Returned for resubmission

The application does not provide the research ethics committee with enough information to make a decision, or the application and/or the accompanying documents are not of an acceptable standard. The applicant will be required to resubmit an updated application for review to the research ethics committee.

(Note that applications may be returned without review if the application includes technical language without common explanation, if the application is poorly constructed grammatically, or if the application is unclear.)

Rejected

The proposal is ethically unacceptable and will not be approved by City’s research ethics committees.

Applicants have the right to appeal decisions. You can find information about how to appeal below.

Appealing an outcome

City defines an appeal as a request from an applicant for a review of a decision in relation to significant amendments requested to or rejection of a research ethics application by one of City’s Research Ethics Committees (including Senate Research Ethics Committee).

This procedure applies to all staff and students engaged in a research project which falls under the institution’s policies and procedures for research involving human participants, personal data or projects involving animals. Appeals against the decision of any City Research Ethics Committee must be made to Senate Research Ethics Committee. An appellant whose appeal to the Senate Research Ethics Committee is not upheld may request an Institutional-level review.

Download the full process for appealing a decision made by a City Research Ethics Committee

Stage 1: Senate Research Ethics-level review

Grounds for appeal

An applicant may appeal against a decision of any City Research Ethics Committee concerning their application, including:

  • Significant requested amendments/changes to the research protocol
  • Rejection of the application

The appellant is required to state the grounds for the appeal and the impact of the decision in writing at the time of requesting a hearing. The appeal should be submitted to the Secretary of the Senate Research Ethics Committee within 20 working days of receiving the Committee’s decision. The appellant is responsible for providing all documentation. The documentation should be collated into one document and have page number, and should include in chronological order:

  • the grounds for appeal;
  • the original unaltered application;
  • comments provided by the Committee in response to the application;
  • any correspondence regarding the application/appeal held with the Secretary, Chair and/or member/s of the Committee;
  • any other documents in support of the appeal.

Initial review

The receipt of an appeal will normally be acknowledged within 5 working days.

The appeal will be scrutinised independently by at least two members of Senate Research Ethics Committee. The members will be nominated by the Chair. They will not have been involved in the initial decision. If the appeal is against a the Senate Research Ethics Committee decision, the nominations will be made from among members who were not the lead or second reviewer of the application, and would normally be from a School other than that of the appellant. Their comments will be sent to the Secretary within 5 working days of receipt by the Committee members. If the appellant is appealing a decision made by a local Research Ethics Committee, the Chair may consult with a representative from the local Research Ethics Committee that reviewed the original application.

The purpose of the initial review is to determine whether valid grounds have been provided to merit consideration of an appeal hearing. If it is deemed that there are no valid grounds the appeal will be rejected.  

The appellant will be informed of the outcome of the initial review, normally within 15 working days of the acknowledgement being sent. Where an appeal is rejected reasons will be provided to the appellant. If the reviewers agree at this stage that there is a case for upholding the appeal, the Chair may agree to do so without requiring an appeal panel hearing. In cases where the reviewers recommend that the appeal merits further consideration, a hearing where the appellant will have an opportunity to state their case to an appeal panel will be arranged.

The Secretary to the Senate Research Ethics Committee will confirm the time and place for the hearing at the time of informing the appellant of the outcome of the initial review.

Senate Research Ethics Comittee appeal panel

The appeal panel will normally be convened within 15 working days of the outcome of the initial review. It will comprise three members of the Senate Research Ethics Committee, including the Chair or Deputy Chair who will chair proceedings and two members from a School other than the appellant’s, with the Secretary to the Committee in attendance.

The appeal panel will discuss the issues raised with the appellant. The outcome of the hearing can include one of the following:

  • Agreement on required changes;
  • Upholding the appeal;
  • Rejecting the appeal.

The outcome of the appeal panel hearing will be provided in writing, normally within 5 working days of the hearing.

The outcome of the hearing will be reported to the local Research Ethics Committee and Senate Research Ethics Committee.

An appellant whose appeal has not been upheld may request a Stage 2 Institutional-level review.

Stage 2: Institutional-level review

Grounds for review

An applicant may request a review of the Senate Research Ethics Committee decision on one or both of the following grounds:

  • Procedural error
  • Demonstrable evidence of prejudice, bias, or inadequate review

The appellant is required to state the grounds for the review in writing at the time of requesting an institutional-level review. Note that dissatisfaction with the decision made by the Senate Research Ethics Committee hearing is not valid grounds for a Stage 2 review.  The grounds should be submitted to the Secretary to the Senate Research Ethics Committee within 10 working days of receipt of written confirmation of Senate Research Ethics Committee’s decision.

Initial review

The receipt of the request for an institutional-level review will normally be acknowledged within 5 working days.

The grounds for review of the Senate Research Ethics Committee decision will be scrutinised by the Vice-President (Research & Enterprise). The purpose of the review is to reach a view on whether sufficient grounds have been provided to merit consideration of a Stage 2 review. If there are insufficient grounds to merit consideration of the review, the review will be rejected.  

The outcome of the initial review will be reported to the Secretary to the Senate Research Ethics Committee. The appellant will be informed of the outcome of the initial review, normally within 15 working days of the acknowledgement being sent. Where a review is rejected reasons will be provided to the appellant.

If the appeal is not rejected at this stage, the Secretary to the Senate Research Ethics Committee will confirm the time and place for the review hearing at the time the appellant is informed of the outcome of the initial review.

The appellant is responsible for providing the review panel with all documentation at least 10 working days before the hearing. This includes the unaltered application, comments provided from the Committee in response to the application, correspondence regarding the application/appeal held with the SREC Secretary or member/s of the Committee, the grounds for the appeal and the correspondence/documentation from/with the appeal panel. The documentation should be collated and have page numbers. The documentation should be submitted to the SREC Secretary.

Institutional review

The review panel will normally be convened within 15 workings days of the outcome of the initial institutional-level review. It will comprise Vice-President (Research & Enterprise) who will Chair proceedings, an academic member of staff with domain expertise not on the original Research Ethics Committee or involved in the appeal, and a senior member of academic staff without domain expertise. The panel will not ordinarily include members of Senate Research Ethics Committee, but the Secretary to the Senate Research Ethics Committee will be in attendance.  

The appeal panel will discuss the issues raised with the appellant. The outcome of the hearing can include one of the following:

  • Agreement on required changes; OR
  • Upholding the application; OR
  • Rejecting the appeal, accompanied by clear reasons that will be provided to the appellant.

The outcome of the appeal panel hearing will be provided in writing, normally within 5 working days of the hearing.

The outcome of the institutional review panel hearing will be reported to the Senate Research Ethics Committee and the Research Ethics Committee that reviewed the original application if not the same, and a record will be retained.