Ethics FAQs

A collection of frequently asked questions related to the Informatics ethics process.

How do I apply for ethical approval if I'm only working on a sub-section of a research project in collaboration with non-Informatics partners? 

If you are collaborating on topics which are sensitive (e.g. medical data) or with institutions that are likely to have strict ethical requirements (e.g. US institutions) then you are advised to submit an application to the other relevant ethics committee first. Additionally, you should submit an application through the Informatics ethics committee even if it's been signed off elsewhere, so that the committee can log the approval and advise on any Informatics-specific ethical concerns. If your project has not been signed off by the other relevant REC (research ethics committee), then approval from the Informatics ethics committee is likely to be contingent on approval by the relevant other REC.

My research project doesn't include any human data, but I'm worried it might still have ethical implications. Do I need to submit an ethics application? 

If you are conducting grant-funded research, and your funder requires ethical review, then you should always submit an ethics application. If, regardless of project type, you have any concerns regarding the ethical implications of your research, then you should submit an ethics application and discuss your concerns with the assigned reviewer. 

The ethics committee cannot advise on export control or dual use policies. For questions around these, please refer to the local champion: Keith Edwards (Senior Business Development Executive). 

Email Keith Edwards

I want to do a modification / extension to an existing study for which I have already had ethics approval - do I need to submit a new form?

No. This can be considered under the previous ethics approval/number but you need to email us so we can approve the modification/extension. 

Two of my students will be working on slightly different parts or versions of the same  study -  do I need to submit a form for each? 

No. You can submit only one form where you will give us the details of both parts or versions and attach the relevant PIS and consent forms. 

How do I get consent from participants remotely?

It is fine to use the normal consent form and have the participant type their name and tick boxes in Word (e.g. using an X). If you are recording audio as part of your data collection, you can record verbal consent at the start of data collection, as long as you ask the participants about each optional element. It is important that you share the PIS and consent forms with the participants in advance of the study.