Reviewing for external organisations

A position statement from University research ethics committee (UREC) relating to requests for the University and its departments to ethically review external research projects.



The University, or individual departments, are occasionally contacted by external researchers wishing to seek ethics approval for a piece of research they are carrying out.

The University research ethics committee's (UREC) normal position is that the University ethics review procedure should not be used to provide an ethics opinion/decision on research that is carried out by individual(s) or organisations not affiliated to the University.

This is due to the fact that the University has no oversight of such research and no control over how it is carried out; ethically approving external research is, therefore, a potential reputational risk to the University. However, University ethical review may be sought for collaborative projects involving the University; researchers may therefore be approached on an individual basis to investigate such possibilities.

Notwithstanding the above, very occasionally, the University may enter an agreement with an external, publicly-funded organisation to provide an ethics review service on a paid basis.

This arrangement must be covered by appropriate written agreements setting out the terms and conditions of the arrangement. Appropriate insurance must also be in place. Any requests to set up arrangements of this nature should be referred to the UREC in the first instance.

UREC – September 2018


Enquiries should be directed to the UREC’s Secretary, Mrs Lindsay Unwin.


Telephone: +44 114 222 1443

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