StaffUniversity Ethics Committee COVID-19 Guidance

Guidance update 14 September 2021

This guidance has been amended to clarify that researchers wishing to invite research participants onto campus must follow the procedure for third parties as defined by Safety, Health and Wellbeing in their Approvals Flowchart, namely that the Executive Dean must give approval.  

New or restarting in-person face-to-face research or research involving travel must adhere to local or national laws and restrictions, such as those of the Scottish Government. Such research must also follow University Guidance. If this is not possible, it must be postponed.

In-person face-to-face research can only start with:

  • New studies – the submission and approval of an ethics application to the relevant Ethics Committee. The University Ethics Committee no longer requires all face-to-face research to be reviewed at University level. Guidance on which Committee your application should be submitted to, can be found in the Code of Practice on Investigations Involving Human Beings.
  • Paused or approved-in-principle studies – the submission and approval of an ethics amendment application to the Ethics Committee which approved the original application (Department/School/University).

In order for any face-to-face research to be approved:

  • All researchers involved must have completed their Covid-19 Return to Campus Application Form and received approval from their Executive Dean.
  • Executive Deans must also give approval for research participants to be allowed on campus.
  • Arrangements for managing the risk of Covid-19 transmission in the course of the research activities must be in place and signed off by the Department/School. For research taking place off-campus, the Executive Dean must approve the fieldwork/research visit, confirming that the travel is essential and that the risk assessment and all necessary people assurances are in place.
  • Confirmation of the above conditions must be provided to the Ethics Committee with the submitted application. The application should reference the risk assessments in place (including risk assessment numbers) and detail mitigations against the risk of Covid-19 transmission as a result of the research activities.

If the research activities described in the ethics applications have not been approved by the Executive Dean and Department/School, ethical approval will not be given.

All relevant forms, guidance and flowcharts can be found on the Safety, Health and Wellbeing webpage. The University Ethics Committee strongly recommends that researchers liaise with their Head of Department/School about the details of the research project before an ethics application is submitted.