Ethics Section

Writing a strong Ethics Section

For general guidance on BU Research Ethics and the approval process, visit the Research Ethics Website: http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/research-ethics/

Overarching RCUK Guidance

RCUK Policy and Code of Conduct on the Governance of Good Research Conduct: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/documents/reviews/grc/rcukpolicyandguidelinesongovernanceofgoodresearchpracticefebruary2013-pdf/

Ethical approval procedures (page 4)

  • Research Organisations (ROs)  should have clear and full policies on ethical standards.
  • ROs should have clear procedures for obtaining ethical approval for research, which are communicated effectively to all relevant staff.
  • Where ethical approval is delegated to schools and departments, procedures should be in place to ensure equity of ethical approach across the whole of the research organisation.
  • Appropriate procedures to obtain clearly informed consent from research participants should be in place.
  • There should be clear supervisory arrangements for delegated procedures.

Je-S Handbook: https://je-s.rcuk.ac.uk/Handbook/Index.htm

Specific Guidance from each Research Council:

ESRC: www.esrc.ac.uk/ResearchEthics

Guidance from Je-S Handbook:

ESRC expects that full consideration is given to any ethical matters in the research it funds and that, where appropriate, the research meets key ethical principles and is approved by ethical authorities. Applicants are asked to confirm that consideration has been given to ethical issues and to explain any issues raised, together with the form of ethical approval that has already been obtained, or would be sought if the proposal were to be funded. If ethics approval is regarded as unnecessary, justification should be expressed with reference to the exemptions set out in ESRC’s Research Ethics Framework document (www.esrc.ac.uk/ResearchEthics), which contains a full explanation of ESRC’s approach and guidance for applicants. Referees will be asked to give special attention to this statement about ethical issues.

Ethical information: This section must be comprehensively addressed. (4000 character limit) The ESRC’s Framework for Research Ethics (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ResearchEthics) contains a full explanation of the ESRC’s approach, with guidance for applicants and provides useful examples of ethics statements.

AHRC:

Guidance from Je-S Handbook:

  • Please indicate whether there are any ethical implications arising from the proposed research activities.  For example, does the research involve human participants?  Does it require travel to countries where the safety of project participants might be in jeopardy? Could the research result in damage to the natural environment?
  • If there are ethical implications, you should give brief details of what they are and how you intend to address them.
  • You are also asked to indicate whether your HEI has a policy on good conduct in research, in line with the requirements of the Research Councils.
  • If the answer is Yes, please indicate where this can be accessed (e.g. website address).

BBSRC: 

Guidance from Je-S Handbook:

Each section of the ethical classification must be completed.

  • Human participation: state whether the proposed research will involve human participation and answer the questions as appropriate.
  • Animal research: The provisions of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 must be observed. Institutions and award-holders are responsible for ensuring that all appropriate personal and project licences required under the Act have been granted by the Home Office. All BBSRC awards are made on the absolute condition that no work which is controlled by the Act will begin until the necessary licences have been obtained. If the proposed research will involve the use of animals covered by the Act, indicate the severity of the procedure; if ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’, provide details of the experiments in the space provided.
  • Genetic and biological risk:If the research will involve the use of genetically modified organisms, answer the questions as appropriate.
  • Approvals: If approval is required for the research, this must be sought and given prior to the research commencing. Provide details of the approval(s) sought and/or received in relation to this proposal.
  • Other issues: Applicants should consider the social context of the proposed research and indicate any issues that might arouse specific public interest or concern about the motivation for the research, its conduct or potential outcomes, which might not be fully covered in the other sections.

EPSRC: 

Guidance from Je-S Handbook:

Applicants should use the Ethical Information section to demonstrate to reviewers that they have fully considered any ethical issues concerning the material they intend to use, the nature and choice, current public perceptions and attitudes towards the subject matter or research area. Describing potential issues gives confidence to reviewers that the applicants have thought carefully about the project. EPSRC will not fund a project if it believes that there are ethical concerns that have been overlooked or not appropriately accounted for. Each section of the ethical information must be completed.

MRC:

Guidance from Je-S Handbook:

Applicants should use the Ethical Information section to demonstrate to reviewers that they have fully considered any ethical issues concerning the material they intend to use, the nature and choice, current public perceptions and attitudes towards the subject matter or research area. Each section of the ethical information must be completed.  Further Information:

NERC: Research Grants and Fellowship Handbook (page 20-22)

STFC: Research Grants Handbook (Research Governance)

For support in writing a strong ethics section please contact Sarah Bell in RKE Project Delivery Team

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