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The University of Central Lancashire is committed to the highest possible ethical standards.

All projects conducted by University staff or students that involve human participants, personal data, human tissue, or animals need ethical consideration, and research should be undertaken in ways that safeguards the dignity, rights, health, safety and privacy of those involved.

To support our University staff and students, UCLan has established a thorough ethical review procedure.

The information on this page aims to guide researchers through the ethical review process.

COVID-19 Updates

In order to comply with UK government guidance, staff and students were asked in March 2020 to pause research involving face-to-face interactions with participants unless arrangements could be made for the research to be conducted remotely.
In line with the changing UK government advice relating to COVID-19, researchers may now be considering ways in which to re-start their projects. The Central Ethics Panels (BAHSS, Science and Health) can now consider applications for face-to-face research. However, researchers are encouraged to conduct their research remotely unless there is a justification for the research needing to take place in a face-to-face environment:

UKRIO have published the following guidance: Recommended Checklist for Research Communities During the COVID-19 Pandemic. This new guidance is aimed at those performing research of any kind during the pandemic – to help anticipate issues that may affect the quality and ethical standards of their research and think about how they might be addressed.

For all research being conducted in the NHS please see the latest guidance on the HRA Website.

Projects involving face-to-face participant interaction

COVID-19 Research Enquiry Form
Ethics Submission Document Checklist
Request for Face-to-Face Participant Interactions during COVID-19 form
COVID-19 Research Participant Pre-Visit Check Form
COVID-19 Template Participant Information Sheet
COVID-19 Template Consent Form
• Risk Assessment Form:
On-campus research activity
Off-campus research activity - accompany this with any related RAs from external organisations (for students / staff)
• Travel Risk Assessment Forms (staff access only)
• Working within 2 metres Frequently Asked Questions (staff access only)
• Working within 2 metres risk assessment (staff access only)
• COVID PPE request form (staff access only)

Undertaking research remotely

Remote Research Guidance
Researcher Guide for Using Microsoft Teams for Remote Interviewing
Participant Guide for Accessing Microsoft Teams for Research Interviews

Research Governance Unit Availability

The Research Governance Unit will be working from home from 19 March until further notice. We will continue to process applications in the normal way, and will endeavour to continue with planned meetings using Microsoft Teams. For any general enquiries please use the contact details below:

Ethics enquiries:
Sponsorship enquiries:

For general research governance queries please contact:
Emma Law, Research Governance Senior Manager:
Afzal Ali, Research Governance Officer:
Emma Neil, Research Governance Officer:

Ethics System

Do I need Ethical approval?

All staff and postgraduate research (PGR) students* conducting research on behalf of the University should complete the UCLan Ethics Checklist to ascertain whether ethical approval is necessary for their research.

Undergraduate and taught postgraduate students are not subject to the University central ethics review process but should seek review at School level. For details of ethical review of undergraduate and taught postgraduate research projects, please contact your School course or module leader for further information.

Ethics Checklist

* All postgraduate research degree student registration proposals, irrespective of the outcome of the Ethics Checklist, need to be submitted to a relevant Research Ethics Review Panel to be dealt with either by Chair’s Action or Full Review.

How to apply for Ethical approval

The information in this section aims to guide researchers through the ethical review process.

If University ethics review is required an Ethics Application Form should be completed electronically and emailed to You should also email us any supporting information (e.g. participant information sheets and consent forms), research tools (e.g. questionnaires) and where appropriate, a Data Protection Checklist and any relevant Health & Safety forms.

Please contact for information on the ethical review process for projects involving the NHS, animals or human tissue.

If appropriate, your project can be submitted for ethical approval in phases, with approval granted for each specific phase/stage.

Downloadable forms:


Ethics Review Panels

At UCLan, the University Committee for Ethics and Integrity is the formal body responsible for developing and implementing ethical policy and procedure which is then administered by the Research Governance Unit. In addition, UCLan has three Ethics Review Panels:

• BAHSS (Business, Arts, Humanities and Social Science)
• Science
• Health
Find out which Review Panel has responsibility for your School.

The Ethics Review Panels are made up of staff members of the relevant disciplines across the University. We are always seeking new review panel members. If you are interested in becoming a member or want any further information please contact The Generic Operating Procedures and Terms of Reference for the three Ethics Review Panels can be downloaded here.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed by one of the Ethics Review Panels, operated primarily using an online process with applications being submitted and reviewed electronically to allow for quicker responses. Depending on the type of project, the review will be either:

A Full Review:

the application will be assigned to at least two reviewers from the relevant Ethics Review Panel who will review your application.

Chair’s Action:

if the application has already been awarded ethical approval from another institution or appropriate organisation it will be reviewed by Chair’s Action at UCLan. For Postgraduate Research Students if on completion of the Ethics Checklist you have answered ‘No’ to all the options in Section 2, this along with your Application for Research Programme Approval (RPA) is reviewed by Chair’s Action who will either provide Ethical Clearance (confirmation that ethical approval is not required) or request further information if they feel there are any ethical concerns to be addressed (and if appropriate, request an ethics application form is submitted).

The Ethics Review Panels can make five kinds of decisions on an application:

1. Outline approval or approval in principle (may include exemption from full review)
2. Approved (either outright, or with recommendations)
3. List specific conditions that must be satisfactorily addressed before approval is granted (may also include recommendations)
4. Re-submission required
5. Reject

The time taken for a decision to be made on your application will be dependent on the complexity of your project, the quality of your application and, where necessary, the time you take to respond to queries, recommendations and/or conditions raised by the Ethics Review Panel. For Full Review, we aim to provide applicants with a review outcome in two weeks, though the time taken to gain approval can sometimes take much longer. We recommend that you apply for ethical approval several months before you plan to start data collection.

Please note that work on your project (e.g. data collection, recruitment/contact with participants, including any pilot research) cannot begin until your ethics application has been approved.

Access the Ethics SharePoint system (e-Ethics Review Panel Members only).


As your project progresses, you may want to make changes to how you wish to conduct your project. You should seek the opinion of the relevant Ethics Review Panel when you are making any amendments to an on-going project previously granted approval, including changes to the study end date listed on your ethics application. To make an amendment please email with justification and rational for the amendment and any updated documents with the changes highlighted.

End of Study

At the end of the project, a closure report is required to be submitted to complete the ethics governance procedures. Existing paperwork can be used for this purpose e.g. funder's end of grant report, abstract for student award or NRES final report. If none of these are available please use the Ethics Closure Report Proforma.

Further Guidance:

Ethical Principles for Teaching, Research, Consultancy, Knowledge Transfer & Related Activities
UCLan’s Code of Conduct for Research
UCLan Code of Practice for the Investigation of Allegations of Research Malpractice
UCLan's Concerns Procedure
UCLan's Ethics Committee Guidance on Self Experimentation
UCLan Guidance on Internet Mediated Research
Data Protection Guidance
Ethics Pack for Research Students

External Information:

American Sociological Association
Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth Ethical Guidelines
British Academy of Management (BAM) / Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) - Ethics Guide 2015
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
British Psychological Society (BPS)
BPS Code of Ethics and Conduct
British Society of Criminology Code of Ethics
British Sociological Association Statement of Ethical Practice
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC): Guide to good practice in Science and Engineering Research
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Research Ethics Framework
Natural Environment Research Council
Nuffield Council on Bioethics
Social Research Association Ethical Guidelines
World Health Organisation Guidance

GDPR and Data Protection Guidance for Researchers

The Information Governance team at UCLan has released Data Protection Guidance for Researchers.

The document is an essential guide for researchers and sets out how to comply with data protection legislation. All researchers should consult this guidance and complete the data protection checklist to ensure they comply with data protection law when carrying out research using personal data and when applying for ethics approval.

This guidance explains the lawful bases from data protection law which enable you to use personal data for research purposes and what else you must consider in relation to data storage, retention and deletion of personal data. It provides information about how to handle personal data at the start, during and at the end of your research. The Guidance should be used in conjunction with the data protection checklist. The links for the data protection guidance and checklist can be found below.

Data Protection Checklist
Data Protection Guidance