Ethics procedure

An overview of the School's ethics procedure, including when and how to complete an ethics application for review.

Consideration of the ethical aspects of our research is both a moral and a legal obligation, as well as part of the academic culture in which we should be training researchers. The following procedures should help us fulfil those requirements. The goal of the system is full legal accountability with minimal effort.  The first goal is served by keeping the full record. The second goal is served by keeping form filling to a minimum, by holding information locally, and by assuring that decision-making is as close to the pertinent research expertise as possible. 

The procedures proposed here aim to ensure that ethical consideration are taken into account in any research done in the School. The proposed framework borrows heavily from current practice in PPLS Psychology and Linguistics, as well as procedures in GeoSciences. 

The system outlined on these pages apply to UG final year projects, MSc projects, PhD projects, Post-doc fellowships, funded research requiring a proposal, research performed by a visitor, and personal research for which there is no proposal. 

Ethics application via online form

This is the online form, which has replaced the old Word forms. Please use it for all staff and student projects. Your data is stored on a server in the EU, following GDPR rules. The Principal Investigator will receive a copy of the form.

If you are submitting more than one ethics application, please wait to receive the automated confirmation of receipt for your first application before submitting the next.

Once submitted, the panel will aim to reply within 10 working days.

Informatics ethics form

Here is a PDF version of the form. This is for your information only. Don’t worry if it looks long. In the online version, the form branches extensively, so that you don’t need to complete parts which are not relevant for you and your project. 

You must complete this form online. We do not accept handwritten or edited versions of this PDF.   

If you need to submit additional files (such as participant information sheets and consent forms, see Ethics resources), please send them as attachments (not OneDrive links) to ethics-query@inf.ed.ac.uk with your reference number in the email header. The reference number is assigned to you in the form.

Please complete the form to the best of your availability. If you are unsure about any of the statements in the form, tick the box you think is most accurate and raise your question in an email to ethics-query@inf.ed.ac.uk with your reference number in the email header. You can ask questions in the same email you send to submit additional files.

Ethics resources

If you have any questions, please have a look at the FAQ pages before contacting the Ethics committee. 

Ethics FAQs

Timeline for seeking ethical review

Proposed research When ethical review is sought Responsible researchers
UG final year projects Submission of project proposal Supervisor and student
MSc projects Submission of project proposal Supervisor and student
PhD projects Annual year report Supervisor and student
Post-doc fellowships Submission of funding proposal Post-doc mentor
Any form of funded research for which there is a proposal Submission of funding proposal PI
Research performed by a visitor When the visit it approved Staff hosting the visitor
Personal research for which there is no proposal Before research starts Individual conducting the research