Research Ethics Review

The main purpose of the ethics review procedures is to facilitate the research undertaken by members of the department in a way that protects both our research participants and members of the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR).


Researchers should take current Government and University guidance into account and consider COVID-19 transmission risks as part of the risk assessment process when developing their research proposal.

Our aim is to accommodate all proposed research as far as if ethically possible. Our procedures and forms comply with the University of Sheffield’s ethics policy for research involving human participants, data and tissue.

The department expects all research to abide by University ethics guidelines. Ethics approval must be gained before research may commence.

Applying for ethics approval

Before undertaking any research involving human participants, personal data or human tissue, ethics applications must be submitted via the online system.

All Staff applications submitted via the online system will be reviewed and approved by at least two members of the ScHARR Research Ethics Committee. There is no longer a deadline for these applications to be submitted by, instead, they will be reviewed as and when they are submitted. A decision will be made within three weeks of receipt of a complete application.

Completed PGR applications will be reviewed once a month by the ScHARR Research Ethics Committee. Candidates and supervisors may be invited to attend the meeting as part of the review process for these applications. Details of the meeting dates, along with the deadline dates for submitting an application can be found under the 'Useful Information' section below.

UG/PGT applications will be reviewed and approved by their supervisor through the online system.

Further information:


Any amendments made to the original application should be submitted via the online system.

Review Outcomes

On considering the ethical implications of a project, ethics reviewers can decide on one of the following possible outcomes:

Approved: the project can go ahead with no changes.
Approved with suggestions: the project can go ahead but the applicant may wish to consider suggestions made by the reviewer(s); these, however, are optional.
Requires compulsory changes: the project cannot go ahead until required changes have been made; the reviewer(s) must see the revised version of the application and subsequently approve it.
Not approved: the project cannot proceed, for reasons that should be clearly specified by the reviewer(s).

Once approval has been granted, an official approval letter will be sent through the online system to the applicant, granting them permission to undertake research.


The University Research Ethics Committee (UREC) overseas the School’s ethics review procedures. In very exceptional cases where agreement cannot be reached within the school, this committee can review applications. Members of the department wishing to appeal a decision of the School’s Ethics Review Committee should inform Richard Hudson (Research Office) via the ScHARR Ethics Administrator

Policy on Good Research and Innovation Practices

Sir David King, when he was the United Kingdonm Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, summarised research ethics as a combination of RIGOUR, RESPECT & RESPONSIBILITY. The University’s GRIP Policy articulates the expectations of the University, Faculties and Academic Departments regarding:

• fundamental principles governing research;
• the responsibilities of the individual researchers;
• what constitutes good research and innovation practices (e.g. in issues including authorship, data management, publication, collaboration, public engagement);
• what constitutes unacceptable research and innovation practices.

For a summary of the GRIP Policy, please click here.

Ethics Policy for Research involving Human Participants, Personal Data or Human Tissue

To undertake research involving human participants, personal data or human tissue requires a good understanding of research ethics. The University of Sheffield’s Ethics Policy supports this (some of the more specialist issues are discussed further in the Policy Notes).

Observing the Ethics Committee

ScHARR Research Ethics Committee welcomes observers. This must be arranged in advance with the Ethics Administrator, and is on a first come first served basis as we limit the number of observers. Observing the Ethics Committee will not involve participating in discussions and no personal applicant's details or ethics applications will be passed on. Observers will be expected to respect the confidentiality of the proposals discussed and not discuss the details outside of the meeting.

Key Contact

Molly Girvan/Rosie Lynch Research Support Officer: +44 (0)114 222 5446

email :

Useful information