Call for expressions of interest: Chair of the University Research Ethics Committee

The University Research Ethics Committee (UREC) requires a new Chair to take over responsibilities from the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

Once in post as Chair, the term of office will be for an initial three years, with one renewal possible by re-election/nomination for a further three-year term.

The UREC is a Committee of Senate. Its key duties are as follows:

1. Reviewing the University's 'Ethics Policy Governing Research Involving Human Participants, Personal Data and Human Tissue' and associated documentation on at least a five-yearly basis, and ongoing review of the Policy, including providing guidance on its interpretation.
2. Upholding adherence to this Policy and the University's Ethics Review Procedure (a part of the Policy).
3. Promoting awareness and understanding of ethical issues in research throughout the University's research community (i.e. ethical issues that are relevant to research that involves human participants and also ethical issues that are relevant to other types of research).
4. Providing advice on any ethical matters relating to research that are referred to it from within the University.
5. Keeping abreast of new externally-driven developments, policies and regulations concerning research ethics and, where appropriate, ensuring that the University meets all necessary requirements.
6. Enabling specific funder requirements regarding ethical review to be met through the provision of relevant members of the Committee to act as ethics reviewers for specific projects (e.g. the provision of a lay member for the review of ESRC-funded applications).

Full terms of reference

Role description

i. Leadership of the Committee, including chairing 4 UREC meetings per year (plus additional ad hoc meetings if required);
ii. Working closely with the UREC's Secretary and Minute Secretary (based in Research Services) to ensure that the UREC meets its responsibilities as defined in its Terms of Reference;
iii. Leading on the investigation of cases that may arise of research that has not followed the appropriate research ethics procedures;
iv. Monitoring the operation of the University's devolved Research Ethics Approval Procedure (including via an annual monitoring report, and a rolling series of audit visits to departments operating the devolved procedure - attendance at approx. 3 visits per annum);
v. Contributing to the design and delivery of training events designed to promote awareness and understanding of the University's Research Ethics Policy and Ethics Approval procedure, including regular workshops for ethics reviewers (approx. 2 half-day workshops per annum);
vi. Where appropriate and feasible, providing advice in response to research ethics queries received from University members of staff or students (via the Secretary/Minute Secretary);
vii. Providing written and verbal reports to the Senate at regular intervals;
viii. Representing the UREC externally and internally, as and when required.

Senate has approved a recommended annual workload allocation for the role of 60 hours.

Person specification

Essential criteria:

  • A member of academic staff;
  • A commitment to ensuring that the University has effective policies, procedures and guidance in place to ensure the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of participants in University research, in line with internationally recognised principles of research ethics;
  • A strong track record of experience in undertaking research that involves human participants and/or the use of personal data and/or the use of human tissue;
  • An active interest in, and understanding of, the latest developments in research ethics;A broad perspective on the range of research conducted across the University;
  • Proven commitment to, and an appropriate track record of, successful contributions to leadership.

Desirable criteria:

  • Experience in or excellent understanding of research ethics processes at a local and/or national level.

Process for applying

Expressions of interest (of approximately 1 side of A4), outlining interest in, and suitability for the role, along with an up-to-date CV, should be submitted to the University Secretary's Office c/o Kathryn Clements (, x21716) by Friday 21 February 2020.

For informal enquiries about the role, please contact either the committee Secretary, Lindsay Unwin (, x21443), or the current Chair, Professor Peter Bath (, x22636).