Research Ethics for Staff/PGR
Before beginning any research (funded or unfunded) involving human participants, personal data or human tissue, all staff and PGRs must submit an ethics application for review and approval via the online system.
When seeking funding, it is important to consult the guidelines of individual funding bodies as they differ according to whether ethics approval is required before submitting an application.
You must not begin any research until you have written confirmation from the School that your application has been approved.
Ethically approved research must be carried out in compliance with any conditions set by the ethics reviewers. If ethics approval is subsequently withdrawn or suspended for any reason, the research must be discontinued. If you need to make a change from your original application, an amendment form needs to be completed and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for approval.
Staff and PGR student (and high risk, UG/PGT student) applications that involve human participants, personal data or human skin require ethics approval via the ScHARR Research Ethics Committee, which meets monthly (please note that there will be no meeting in August). Applications will be reviewed by 3 members of the committee and applicants will be invited to discuss their applications at the meetings. Applications must be submitted online before 13.00 on the day of the deadline to be considered for the meeting (a list of meeting dates and deadlines of the meetings may be found here.
Please note that PGR applications must be approved by the supervisor before the monthly deadline to be considered for the meeting, and PGR students must therefore ensure their application is submitted to the supervisor in advance of the deadline. Any 'required amendments' must be completed to the satisfaction of the supervisor before the application is submitted for committee review. We cannot accept incomplete applications.
Please ensure you complete all the requirements listed below:
1 - Independent Scientific Review (ISR)
If you are a PGR (and high risk, UG/PGT student) you require either: two independent scientific reviews to accompany your application for research ethics review (found in the download box on the right. One of the scientific reviews can be one of your supervisory team), or your PhD needs to have been through it's confirmation/upgrade (please ensure this is clearly stated within the application).
If you are staff you require either: copies of the funder's scientific reviews or three independent scientific reviews, which can be from ScHARR staff who are not involved with the research project.
Your ISRs must be done in advance and included in the ethics application.
2 - Data Management Plans
All research projects handling personal data must include a Data Management Plan which should address data capture, integrity, confidentiality, retention, sharing and publication as per the Research Data Management Policy. There are a number of templates and examples on The University Library pages, the generic DMP template is recommended if your funder is not in the list of available templates.
PGR students are required to complete a DMP on PebblePad as part of the Confirmation Review Process which can be submitted as part of the ethics application.
Please visit the ScHARR Research Information Governance pages for advice on handling research data.
3 - General Data Protection Regulations - 'GDPR'
All research collecting personal data must comply with General Data Protection Regulations. To comply with GDPR, participants must be made aware of the following; the legal basis for collecting their data, which organisation is acting as the Data Controller, who will act as the Data processors, how will their data be stored, when their data will be destroyed and who they may contact to make a complaint regarding the use of their data. The information sheet and consent form templates include further information including the agreed wording. This is a legal requirement.
Applications involving secondary data
Staff and PGR applications involving the use of secondary data now require submission via the online system.
Select the option that your research involves only existing data. You will then proceed to a questionnaire which will determine whether full ethics approval is required or whether a shorter application may be created for the ethics administrator to generate an approval letter.
Alternative Ethics Applications
If you are involved in a project which has ethics approval from outside the University, you must register the project on the online ethics system as an Alternative Ethics Application. For example, if you are involved in a project that has NHS ethics or you are acting as a collaborator on a project that has ethics approval from the lead institution, you must upload the submitted alternative ethics application and ethics approval letter to the online system. This also applies to overseas institutions. A list of of organisations recognised by the University as having a sufficiently robust ethics processes can be found here.
To create an alternative ethics application, go into the online ethics system and select 'New Application', proceed to Section B 'Basic Information', there is a tick box inthe 'Suitability' sub-section which asks whether the ethics approval is being led by another UK institution. Select Yes (regardless of whether the institution is UK or international). You will then be asked if the University of Sheffield ethics procedure applies. Select 'No, submit doucmentation.'. Upload the submitted alternative ethics application and alternative ethics approval letter.
In addition to this, be careful that information is consistent across all documentation, and details included in the information sheets and consent forms match what is stated in your application. All additional documents must include a version number in the footer.
Please see the documents below for help applying, as well as the useful forms and guidance links and documents.
Health and Social Care Research Governance
If your research is a healthcare research project, i.e. involves the NHS in any way (NHS staff work time, NHS patients, NHS premises, requires NHS ethics or HRA approval) or is a social care provided by a local authority contract, then your project will need to be registered on the Costing Tool so that you have a Project Code number to enter on the ethics application system. For a detailed definition of Research Governance see www.sheffield.ac.uk/rs/ethicsandintegrity/governance/definition.
Your supervisor can either approach Charlotte Claxton, Jon Woodward or Mari Bullock on email@example.com to create the Costing Tool record or do it themselves. The information required is:
Healthcare and Social care research projects need to go through the research governance procedure. Projects MUST be authorised to commence by a Research Governance Sponsor.
Please note these flowcharts demonstrate the basic process only, for the full process please see the individual Staff or PGR flowcharts (links above)
|Useful forms and Guidance||
|Information for Reviewers and Supervisors||
|Other Types of Research||
There are different types of research that may not need ScHARR Ethics Approval.