University Ethics Committee and supporting research ethics committees

An overview of the University's system of ethics officers and committees

Ethics Committee hierarchy chart
A flowchart showing the reporting routes for ethical issues and the hierarchy of ethics committees. Click the image to enlarge.

 Note: we are in the process of revising this diagram to reflect current structures











The University Ethics Committee is a strategic body that oversees the University’s ethics review process and strategy.  Six Resarch Ethics Committees, each of which covers one or more academic disciplines, are responsible for reviewing ethics applications and reporting to the University Ethics Committee on operational matters.

In exceptional cases, an Research Ethics Committee may refer an application to the University Ethics Committee, which has oversight of the whole ethical review process.

The diagram above details the reporting structure for the University Ethics Committee and Research Ethics Committees.

Departmental ethics officers

Every school and department within the University has at least one departmental ethics officer. Departmental ethics officers are responsible for advising researchers on ethical issues and are usually members of an Ethics Sub-Committee.

Find your departmental ethics officer using our directory:

Research Ethics Committees

The six Research Ethics Committees are:

The Research Ethics Committees provide ethical scrutiny of research projects which involve more than minimal risk to human participants. Usually, this will be on the basis of the Online Ethical Approval Form submitted by the researcher, though applicants may request to make applications in person and the committees may request researchers attend in order to clarify details on an application.

In exceptional cases the Research Ethics Committees may refer an application on to the University Ethics Committee for scrutiny. If a Committee declines an application, the applicant has the right to appeal this decision to the University Ethics Committee.

University Ethics Committee

The University Ethics Committee,  oversees the ethical approval system at the University, provides guidance on ethical issues and is responsible for the development of the Research Ethics Code of Practice. It also scrutinises research projects which have been referred from Ethics Sub-Committees in exceptional cases and considers appeals from researchers whose projects have been declined by Ethics Sub-Committees.

Membership, terms of reference and minutes of previous committee meetings are available online.

The University Research Ethics Committee reports to the Research Strategy, Policy and Performance Committee, which has overall responsibility on the behalf of Senate for the University’s research strategy.

To contact the University Ethics Committee please email  Lynne Parsons ( (Research and Enterprise Division).


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