We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of research excellence and integrity. Please also read 'Carrying out ethically responsible research' to find out more about what you need to do as to ensure your research complies with our ethical principles.
To access Ethics@Bath, the new ethics review online system, please go to https://ethics.bath.ac.uk/.
For information about how the ethical review process is managed and carried out please read on.
Please see our webportal for information about the new Ethics@Bath system and to access the system's guides.
On 3rd of April 2023, Ethics@Bath, a new online ethics software system for managing the consideration of ethical implications of research projects, became available for staff and Doctoral students. From September 2023, this system was also made available to Undergraduate and Masters students.
The system aims to help applicants submit and track their applications, as well as making it easier for the Research Ethics Committees and departmental-level staff to review, comment and provide opinions on the ethical implications of research projects.
Under the new research ethics governance process, all applications for ethical review are submitted via the online system, to ensure that all research carried out at the University is subjected to an appropriate ethics review that is proportionate to the potential risk of harm associated with the project.
The type of research being carried out will dictate the level of ethics review as described below.
Accessing the online ethics system
To create, amend, share, or sign an ethics application
Access the application system via https://ethics.bath.ac.uk/ and use your University email address (e.g. email@example.com) and password to log in if asked. If you are a Supervisor, log into the application system to view and sign student forms.
To review ethics applications
If you are a DREO, ethics committee member, Departmental Panel/Pool reviewer, or have been nominated as a second reader you can access the review side of Ethics@Bath via https://review.ethics.bath.ac.uk/. Please log in using your University email address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) and password.
Once you have logged in, you will find application guidance and templates under the ‘Help’ menu in the top left of the screen.
Additional tips and guidance are also provided in (i) buttons throughout each section of the application.
Detailed Ethics@Bath guides can be found here.
For projects where the potential to do harm is classified as minimal, a proportionate review at departmental level is sufficient. This applies to Staff projects and to research being carried by Doctoral Students.
Please read our page on ethical implications of Undergraduate and Masters projects for information about the Departmental-level processes put in place to ensure that these student projects are reviewed in an expedited way.
For further details on Departmental-level sign-off process please refer to the workflows.
Research projects, carried out by staff or PhD students, that are not eligible for consideration at departmental level will be reviewed at the University Research Ethics Committee level.
Committee level review
All research projects identified that entail more than a minimal risk of harm and are being carried out by staff or PhD students, will be subjected to a full ethics review by one of the following Committees/Bodies:
- Externally Reviewed and Sponsorship
- Biomedical Science
- Social Sciences
- Data and Digital Science
- Animal Welfare and Ethics Review Board
Details of the types of research considered by each Committee/Review Body please see our webpage. To ensure the efficient running of the committees, this triaging process weights the committees in the following order:
- External & Sponsorship
- Biomedical Sciences Research Ethics Committee
- Data & Digital Sciences Research Ethics Committee
- Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee
To give an example of what this means in practice, if an application involves “Research focusing on public / population health research” as well as “Social, economical, political, educational or psychological research” and also “Creation and / or use of digital artefacts with human participation (e.g., apps, games, wearable sensors, website, virtual or augmented reality etc.)”, this application would be routed to Biomedical Sciences Research Ethics Committee.
This weighting has been established to ensure that projects are allocated to ensure that committees are primarily reviewing projects related to their specialities, and to ensure that the volume of applications is evenly distributed.
It is possible that applications will be manually reallocated by the Research Governance team as required, for example if a review meeting is full. The committees have been set up with wide memberships and with broad expertise so are able to review applications outside of their respective areas of focus as required.
Outcomes from Committee meetings will be announced within 10 working days following the committee meeting date.
For information about how projects being carried out by UG and Masters students will have its ethical implications considered please see here for more information.
Amendments - interim process
During the initial phase of launching the new Ethics@Bath system from 3rd April 2023, there will be an interim process for amendments to Staff and Doctoral Student projects which have previously received a favourable opinion from either PREC, SSREC or REACH.
Arrangements for processing amendments to projects under Sponsorship remain unchanged until further notice.
If your project received a favourable opinion from PREC/SSREC/REACH or one of the new committees, but you need to make changes to any aspect of your project (e.g., the methods, data collection tools/materials, participant information/consent materials, recruitment strategy, target audience, data management plan etc), please provide a cover page or email which references the section(s) and/or page number(s) of all documents where changes have been made. Changes in documents should be indicated using Track Changes in word.
Please send all documentation by email to email@example.com.
Your amendments request will be processed by the Research Governance and Compliance team, and/or forwarded to the relevant Research Ethics Committee if appropriate.
Any amendments to your project should be processed as soon as possible to avoid any delays to your project.
A full amendments process will be incorporated into the Ethics@Bath system in due course. More information will follow soon.
If you wish to make a revision to information currently under review please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fast track review process
This process allows for an ethics review to take place outside of the schedule of meetings provided it is supported by a request that observes the following criteria:
- the project is responding to a societal emergency; and/or
- it is an urgent application to funders that funders who require a full ethics appraisal before funding is confirmed; and/or
- there are student related timeframes which put the degree in jeopardy
- it is a minor amendment(s); and/or
- it is another type of amendment at the Chair's discretion
- another reason at the discretion of the Chair of AEIC
In order to put a request for fast tracked ethics review the following process will need to be followed:
- researcher completes an application on the Ethics@Bath system and submits it for review
- researcher contacts email@example.com quoting the Ethics@Bath reference number and requesting that a review is fast tracked providing sufficient justification about how their case fits at least one of the criteria listed above
- a member of the Research Governance and Compliance team will review all the information provided and will process the request accordingly, liaising with the relevant Chair as required. If there is a case for fast tracked review then a reviewer and the Chair will be appointed to review the application
- once the review has taken place, the Chair will make a recommendation to either i) fast track the review of the application outside of the committee meeting or ii) that a discussion at commitee level is required and as such normal process and timeframes will apply.
It is not up to the researcher, or in the case of the Student the Supervisor, to classify whether the request fufills the required criteria. If the justification is not sufficiently robust to allow for fast tracked review, the normal timeline for review will be adopted. Equally, if upon reviewing the documentation a decision is made that a discussion at committee level is required, the normal timeline of review will be adopted. The researcher(s) will be kept informed of progress and route for review.
This process would need to be reviewed periodically so as to ensure that:
- the reviewers and Chairs are not overloaded
- the Research Governance Team is not progressing these requests at the expense of committee business
- the scheme is used for genuine instances where an expedited decision is required
Other information to note
Guidance for Students and Staff on using the Ethics@Bath system is available here.
For support with technical issues logging into the system, please raise a ticket with IT at firstname.lastname@example.org
For support with general research ethics queries, please contact your Departmental Research Ethics Officer (DREO), or contact email@example.com
Doctoral students should also read the guidance provided on the Doctoral College's website.
For further information about each of the University Research Ethics Committees please click here.