External research projects

What to do if your department is asked to take part in an external research project.



The University is occasionally contacted by external researchers wishing to recruit University staff and/or students for research.

The University's research ethics policy states that it applies to "all individuals who, although not members of the University, conduct, or contribute to, research activities involving human participants, personal data or human tissue that take place within University premises and facilities".

Therefore, the policy applies when research projects are advertised using University facilities (such as email) or in situations when researchers come on-site to conduct research.

In order to ensure adequate safeguarding and a consistent approach to such requests, the University Research Ethics Committee (UREC) has recommended that the following position be adopted:

  1. Any researcher wishing to recruit University of Sheffield staff and/or students as research participants must have obtained appropriate ethics approval (from an ethics review process that is sufficiently robust in comparison to the University's research ethics policy and procedure) and evidence of this must be provided.
  2. Appropriate permissions must be sought from the relevant area(s) of the University (eg Head of Department). The appropriate person(s) would need to know the aims of the research, who the target participants would be and what the research itself would involve so that they can make an informed decision about whether staff and/or students should be asked to participate.

The UREC is able to offer support to departments in making a judgement about whether an external ethics review process is sufficiently robust in comparison to the University’s research ethics policy and procedure.

UREC - May 2019


Enquiries should be directed in the first instance to the UREC’s Minute Secretary, Miss Anita Kenny.

Email: a.j.kenny@sheffield.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 114 222 1400

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