Carrying out ethically responsible research
What you need to do as part of your research project to make sure your research complies with our ethical principles.
Our ethical standards
We apply the highest ethical standards in our research. In addition to our own Code of Good Practice in Research Integrity, we must make sure our research complies with ethical principles set out by the Research Councils.
Requirements for all our research
Before you perform any research activity, you must complete and submit an Ethical Implications of Research Activity (EIRA) 1 form.
This requirement applies to unfunded research, consultancies and external partnerships as well as other activity (such as travel grants). Any significant change to a project for which an EIRA form has been completed will require a new EIRA form.
This is the minimum requirement for all our research activity. Depending on the field of your research, there may be other mandatory ethical considerations. Your Departmental Research Ethics Officer (DREO), will be able to tell you if your research requires any additional ethical reviews on the basis of your EIRA 1 form.
The process of completing an EIRA form
- The Principal Investigator (PI) completes the form and passes it to a Second Reader along with the research grant proposal.
- The Second Reader reviews the form and the proposal and passes them back to the PI.
- The PI passes them to the Head of Department/School.
- If they are satisfied with the form, the Head of Department/School will sign it and the PI will then pass it to the Departmental Research Ethics Officer (DREO).
- The DREO will review issues for action and include the form in the Departmental Annual Monitoring Report.
If you need advice on identifying or assessing ethical issues or completing the form, you should contact your DREO.
If you identify significant ethical issues that require additional guidance, you should contact your Faculty or School (particularly where there is an Ethics Committee) or the University Ethics Committee.
Research requiring additional ethical reviews
Your research may require additional ethical reviews if it involves:
- human participants
- people who do not have capacity to consent
- blood or human tissue
- clinical trials
- sensitive data
Contact your DREO to find out if your research requires additional ethical reviews.
Even if you have been awarded a research grant, you will not receive the funding before completing these additional reviews.
According to the Act, it is unlawful to remove, store or use human tissue from the living or deceased without appropriate consent; the consent must be for specified ethically approved research or health-related purposes. This offence is punishable by a fine and/or three years' imprisonment.
The Human Tissue Authority's codes of practice give practical guidance on human tissue legislation.