All research conducted by staff or students involving human subjects requires ethical scrutiny. Increasingly, this is an explicit requirement of external funders such as Research Councils and charities and oversight bodies such as funding councils. All staff and students need to consider the possible ethical implication of their work and be aware of sources of information and procedures by which ethical approval can be obtained.
The College’s Ethics Committee's guidance document provides information on the type of research that requires ethical scrutiny. Applicants should also be aware of appropriate subject-specific guidelines (see appendix I of the guidance notes for sources of further information).
The new form and guidelines are now available at: Research Ethics.
All departments with research involving human subjects/participants will need to report annually on the number of applications processed and to describe the procedures that are in place for identifying and processing projects that raise ethical issues.
Research governance and good practice
It is the responsibility of everyone involved in research – researchers, supervisors, heads of departments and institutions – to ensure that research is conducted according to appropriate sets of standards. Research Councils UK (RCUK) have produced draft guidelines on the standards of conduct that are required from those in receipt of RCUK grants and it is hoped that institutions will adopt these standards for all research projects.
The current RHUL guide can be found at: Code of good research practice.
The UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) is also producing a Code of Practice for Research.
The UKRIO has also produced a Procedure for the Investigation of Misconduct in Research, a guide for universities on how best to conduct such investigations in a way that protects the interests of all of those involved.