UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER
COMMITTEE FOR RESEARCH ETHICS CONCERNING
HUMAN SUBJECTS (NON-NHS)
Minutes of a meeting held on 12 February 2010
Present: Professor A Cashmore (Chair)
Dr H. Barton Dr M. Phillips
Ms J. Pearce Dr C Edwards
In attendance: Ms S. Banbury, Mr G. Hewitt, and Mr B. Berry (Secretary).
Apologies for absence were received from Mrs F. Hussain and Professor K Lee.
10/M01 TERMS OF REFERENCE AND MEMBERSHIP: The Committee noted its terms of reference and membership, and those attending their first meeting were introduced and welcomed. The Committee resolved:
(a) That Dr M Phillips is representative of the College of Science and Engineering and not Social Science.
(b) That the Committee should have a representative from each College. The College of Medicine, Biological Science and Psychology is satisfactorily represented with Professor Cashmore and Mr Hewitt. However, the Committee noted that Social Sciences College is not represented and asked Dr Phillips to contact the College to suggest a name for this purpose. The student body should also be represented and Committee agreed for the Chair to speak with Alex Smith, the Students’ Union Involvement Officer, to recommend a student to sit on the Committee.
(c) That there is a need for member representative responsible for delivery OF research staff ethics training and that the Chair would be approaching the Academic Practice Unit for this purpose.
(d) That the wording in the terms of reference “non-clinical research by replaced by “non-NHS” to reflect the title of the Committee.
The Committee resolved that changes to the terms of reference would be carried out by the Secretary and reviewed at the next Committee meeting.
10/M02 MINUTES: The Committee considered the minutes of a meeting held on 6 November 2009.
The Committee approved them as a correct record subject to a change to minute 09/M33 (b) to read “but suggested core elements” rather than “compulsory core elements but”.
Arising from minute 28, concerning the on-line ethics approval system, the Committee resolved that as the password for the website was still in possession of Ms K Bignold (previous secretary), the Secretary should obtain this password and pass it to Ms S Banbury to allow access to the online ethics application system.
Arising from minute 28, concerning human tissue, the Committee considered a Paper tabled by Mr Hewitt as a guide for researchers collecting human tissue. The Committee discussed the paper particularly the issues of written consent and what samples are covered by the Human Tissue Act. The Committee resolved that it is not authorised to comment on donor and user safety and asked that Mr G Hewitt revise the paper in the light of the discussions after consulting with Dr Edwards and present it again to the Committee for consideration.
10/M03 UNDERGRADUATE AND TAUGHT POSTGRADUATE REGULATIONS: The Committee noted the there should be clear reference to the ethics reviews systems and ethics approvals required in the undergraduate and taught postgraduate regulations. The Chair recalled a case that was brought to her attention where a student, trained in ethical approval requirements, started and nearly finished the research project without any ethics approval. The Department had to review it retrospectively and discipline the student. However, the Chair queried not only the role of the supervisor in this case but also whether the rules to be complied with were apparent and visible enough to the users.
The Committee agreed that with regards to the supervisors should be reminded of their responsibilities in the whole ethics review process and noted that it is a training issue that the Committee would be keen to pursue.
The Committee resolved that recommendations for amendments to student regulations should be identified and that the Chair would be discussing whether suitable wording had already been suggested with Ms Williams, as Head of Academic Services.
10/M04 ETHICS TRAINING NEEDS: The Committee noted that there is a need for training for supervisors or more appropriately, staff awareness. This staff awareness programme would need to be complemented by appropriate ethics training for Departmental Ethics Officers and researchers.
The Committee agreed that the Chair along with Dr Phillips, Dr Barton, Mr Hewitt and Ms Banbury meet with Dr Meera Warrior, who is the Research Development Coordinator within the Academic Practice Unit to discuss how to take the training agenda forward.
10/M05 UK RESEARCH INTEGRITY OFFICE’S CODE OF PRACTICE FOR RESEARCH: The Committee reviewed the University’s Code of Practice on Research Ethics in light of the new Research Integrity Office’s Code of Practice for Research. It concluded that no further action needs to be taken since the University’s Code is compliant with the new Code and falls well in line with its requirements.
10/M06 LONE WORKER GUIDELINES: The Committee discussed lone workers guidelines and that it is considered as a process of risk management and also as part of good practice and research ethics.
The committee agreed that the lone workers guidelines should be accessible to researchers across the University but was not clear who had ownership of these guidelines. It asked Ms Banbury to approach Health and Safety for guidance and bring the guidelines to the Committee for consideration of how they impact on and relate to research ethics.
10/M07 REPORTS FROM THE COLLEGE RESEARCH ETHICS COMMITTEES
COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH ETHICS COMMITTEE: The Committee received and noted the minutes of a meeting of the College of MBSP Research Ethics Committee held on 24 November 2009. Attention was drawn to minute 08/M26 and that applications were being received for a course that had not been previously been referring student projects for ethical approval. The Committee noted that this may relate to raising awareness and training.
COLLEGES OF ARTS/SOCIAL SCIENCES RESEARCH ETHICS COMMITTEE: The Committee noted an oral report of a meeting of the Colleges of Arts/Faculty of the Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee held on 11 December 2009.
10/M08 ANY OTHER BUSINESS: The Committee received a short report that ESRC have issued a revised Research Ethics Framework and agreed that this be included as an agenda item for next meeting.
The Committee considered the Plan of Future Work for 2009/10, reflecting discussions earlier in the meeting and resolved:
to review and amend its terms of reference and membership
to undertake a review of the Code of Practice, particularly in the light of revised ESRC’s Research Ethics Framework
to circulate forms of works referring to ethics and ethical approval to be incorporated in the undergraduate and taught postgraduate regulation
to explore what Health and Safety are advising on lone worker and consider in an ethics context
to explore ethics training needs and arrange meeting with Research Development Coordinator and carry out survey as to what student training is going on currently being provided.
To hold an audit in advance of the next meeting in June.
10/M09 DATES OF MEETINGS IN 2009/10: The Committee noted date of future meeting as follows:
Friday 4 June 2010 at 10.00 a.m.