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 are a leading research university committed to maintaining the highest standards of research excellence and integrity.
We uphold the principles outlined in the Concordat to Support Research Integrity (Universities UK, July 2012) and continue to work to further enhance and strengthen our arrangements and research culture in this area.
In addition to our own Code of Good Practice in Research Integrity, we make sure our research complies with ethical principles set out by the Research Councils.
Requirements for all our research
All researchers (staff and students, undergraduate and postgraduate) must ensure their research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards.
Before you perform any research activity, you must:
- complete, submit and have agreed an Ethical Implications of Research Activity (EIRA) 1 form
- (if you require ethical approval) seek and obtain full ethical committee approval
This requirement applies to externally or internally-funded research, consultancies and external partnerships as well as other activity. This also applies to staff and student research activities.
Any significant change to a project for which an EIRA form has been completed will require a new EIRA form.
The process of completing an EIRA form
The entire process of filling out, reviewing and signing off the form takes place online.
- The Principal Investigator (PI) completes the form and sends it to a Second Reader.
- The Second Reader reviews the form and either sends it back to the PI with comments or forwards it to the Head of Department/Division. (The Departmental Research Ethics Officer is automatically notified when the form reaches the Head of Department/Division.)
- The Head of Department/Division can either send it back to the PI with comments or sign it off.
- The DREO will review issues for action and inclusion 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, blood or human tissue (see the guidance for applying for University sponsorship to work in the NHS)
- people who do not have capacity to consent (see the guidance for applying for University sponsorship to work in the NHS)
- NHS (see the guidance for applying for University sponsorship to work in the NHS)
- clinical trials (see the guidance for applying for University sponsorship to work in the NHS)
- sensitive data (contact your Department Research Ethics Officer (DREO) in the first instance)
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.