Ethics and COVID-19

Guidance on ethical considerations in relation to COVID-19.

 Informatics projects should follow steps below which are in line with the approach taken in CAHSS but bear in mind that it has been developed for CAHSS researchers and students, and that some advice may not apply. The full CAHSS guidance document is available below.


Specific guidance to be followed in Informatics:

  • Any research projects that involve vulnerable groups or key workers should be re-assessed and treated as a new application. If your project meets this description and you have not yet paused your research, you must do so until your project has been re-assessed by the ethics committee.
  • In line with ERO guidance (link below), research will only be permitted to continue face-to-face if there is an exceptional reason, such as clinical need or a significant ethical rationale for non-immediate cessation.
  • Any changes to existing research projects with non-vulnerable participants can go ahead with revised methodology as necessary (e.g. remote data collection). An updated PIS and summary of changes (especially with regards to UK GDPR implications) should be submitted to the Informatics ethics committee via the original application.

ERO guidance on COVID-19  

Remote data collection

If your project has moved to remote data collection, it is important that you consider the implications this has on data storage. If you are collecting personal data, you still need to be able to guarantee that legal requirements are met. For example, you should not use survey services which collect and store personal data on servers outside of the EEA. Further information on the storage of data is available on pages that cover ethics and UK GDPR, with reference to central University information. If there are concerns related to the UK GDPR compliance of services, you should be explicit in your ethics application in how to mitigate risks to personal data (for example, if you can opt out of certain settings for a service provider). 

Ethics and the UK GDPR