Research requires ethical approval for a variety of reasons, including:
Research ethical review is required at Anglia Ruskin for all research involving human participants and also other types of research including relating to animals and habitats, human tissue and risking damaging or disturbing artefacts.
All those wishing to conduct research (undergraduate, masters, doctorate and staff) must complete the Stage 1 Research Ethics Application Form and then follow the procedure according to the category (GREEN, YELLOW, RED, PURPLE) your research falls under.
Pilot studies: You will need to obtain ethical approval for pilot studies and then for any subsequent amendments you want to make following this.
Amendments: You will also need to obtain ethical approval for any amendments to your study.
Retrospective approval: Please note that this approval system is not retrospective.
If your research involves human tissue or samples, it is likely to fall under the Human Tissue Act (2004). You will need to check this with Dr Matt Bristow (Dept. of Psychology) in the first instance. ARU can only review research that falls under the Human Tissue Act (2004), if it falls under our Research Licence from the Human Tissue Authority. Otherwise, it can only be legally reviewed by an NHS Research Ethics Committee. Please see Section 6.2 of the Code of Practice - Applying for Ethical Approval for further information.
The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) supports and protects people who may be unable to make some decisions.
If you're planning on carrying out research with people over 16 years old who are unable to consent, you will need to comply with the Mental Capacity Act (2005). Please note that the Mental Capacity Act (2005) emphasises supporting people to be able to consent if possible. The Mental Capacity Act (2005) can cover people with long term conditions such as dementia or learning disabilities and also short term conditions such as the effects of alcohol or shock. If your research falls under this Act, it can only legally be reviewed by a recognised research ethics committee. This is an NHS Research Committee, the National Social Research Committee or the Ministry of Defence Ethics Committee. Please refer to Section 6.3 of the Code of Practice - Applying for Ethical Approval.
University ethics committees are not recognised committees under the MCA and, therefore, cannot approve studies falling under the act. If a study is not approved by a recognised REC and a participant in the study loses capacity then they cannot continue, and must be withdrawn, from the study.
The Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice offers practical guidance:
There will be certain types of research e.g. NHS, where you will need to apply to their Committee(s) for approval. For more information, please read the Stage 1 Research Ethics Application Form, the Question-Specific Advice for Research Ethics Application Form Stage 1 (Section 24) and Chapter 3 of the Code of Practice for Applying for Ethical Approval
For more information about NHS approval, please also refer to the following documents to see whether you will need an NHS Research Passport:
As well as ethical approval, you need to consider whether you need other types of approval or permissions. Please note it's your responsibility to ensure that you have these, if required, as the ethics committee is not responsible for checking on your behalf. Please note our risk assessment and insurance processes do not apply to all our Associate Colleges who are expected to have their own arrangements. For information about who and what we insure, visit our Insurance Information page.
Please refer to Chapter 3 of the Code of Practice for Applying for Ethical Approval for further information.
Types of approval/permissions include:
If you think your research may result in intellectual property (IP), please speak to your Supervisor or Line Manager before you start your project and refer to our IP policy and guidance
All research activity must be conducted in an appropriate and responsible manner. View our research integrity page for relevant information.