Our Code of Ethics

The values of the University, expressed in our Charter and Statutes and re-affirmed in the Mission, Vision and Identity included in the institutional Strategic Plan, commit us to the highest standards of ethical conduct. To support this commitment we have developed a number of guiding principles as a reference point for ethical decision-making. The guiding principles are part of the Code of Ethics which is designed to provide an overarching guide to ethical conduct.

The Code is supplemented by a series of ten questions which Heads of Departments and relevant Professional Services Directors are asked to consider in respect of any new activity or changed circumstances. These questions are intended to support HoDs and Professional Services Directors to consider the ethical and reputational risks associated with a given activity.

Guiding Principles

The University and individual members of staff will:

  • Behave with independence, consistency, honesty and transparency in all our activities.
  • Carry out research and scholarship of a quality which commands the respect of academic peers, which is open to testing and refutation, and which is undertaken in an ethical and legal manner.
  • Defend and promote the freedom to pursue, advance, and disseminate knowledge and ideas.
  • Test received wisdom, examine evidence critically, consider and evaluate all opinions, beliefs and  arguments with respect.
  • Award degrees based on merit.
  • Act in accordance with our Charter and Statutes and our Charitable objects.


Personal Ethics

Unethical personal behaviour by an individual is unacceptable. While the law can establish what behaviour is right and wrong, unethical behaviour is also determined by social attitudes of morality and good conduct. Ethical behaviour helps to build trust, and in the context of the University is associated with individuals acting with integrity and transparency. Unethical behaviour is commonly associated with selfishness, seeking personal satisfaction and the fulfilment of personal objectives (to the detriment of colleagues, the University itself, or third party individuals or organisations).

Organisational (“Corporate”) Ethics

Corporate ethics are standards of behaviour expected of the University, which affects its relationships with staff, students and partners, as well as with funders and regulators, the region and society as a whole. These standards relate primarily to the Code’s guiding principles and support the University’s Mission, Vision and Identity. They provide an institutional context within which individual staff can ensure that their personal behaviour is ethical in support of the collective achievement of the University’s strategic and charitable objectives.

Professional Ethics

Many professions, such as medicine, law and other chartered occupations, are governed by professional bodies that require members to act in accordance with certain professional standards, including ethics. Staff (and students) holding or seeking professional accreditation should also have regard to the standards of conduct expected and required by their respective professional body. Many of these will be the same or similar as other ‘personal’ ethics and may include principles of independence, confidentiality and selflessness, as well as honesty and integrity.

Policies and procedures

The University deliberately does not attempt to set out a pre-determined list of ‘ethical’ or ‘non-ethical’ activities. Rather, we have established mechanisms by which informed decisions can be taken on matters relating to ethics (and the associated risks) on a case-by-case basis, within the appropriate policy or procedural context. The links below will take you to the relevant procedures when considering ethical matters relating to: education, including admissions, teaching partnerships and awards; research, knowledge exchange and related partnerships; finance; fundraising and gifts.

If you have questions that have not been answered after consulting the above policies please contact the Director of Academic Programmes and Student Engagement.

If you have questions after reading the above policies and procedures please contact the Director of Research Services.

Please contact the Director of Finance if you have questions which have not been addressed through the policies and procedures set out above.

Breaches of Policy and Procedure

Breaches of relevant policy and procedures may result in disciplinary action. The University’s Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblowing) Policy provides a means for any individual to raise matters of concern as regards malpractice, impropriety or wrongdoing

Please contact the Director of Advancement if you have questions which cannot be addressed through the policies and procedures set out above.

Monitoring, reporting and review

The policies and procedures referred to on this page are subject to monitoring, reporting and review by those responsible for oversight in each case. By way of example, regular reports on matters regarding teaching partnerships are made by the Committee for Collaborative Provision to the Learning and Teaching Committee of Senate; the Research Ethics Committee reports regularly on its work to Senate; the Honorary Degrees Committee reports on its deliberations during each academic year to the Senate and to Council. The University Secretary has responsibility for ethical matters and effective operation of the University’s framework for decision making on ethical matters.

Alongside these particular reporting arrangements, the University Executive Board will review operation of the overarching Code, including ensuring that the various related policies, procedures and guidelines are current, publicised, and operating, and will report to Council, via its Audit Committee.