Research ethics are a set of principles addressing how researchers and research organisations should conduct themselves when dealing with research participants, their data or tissue, other researchers and colleagues, the users of their research and society in general. The principles apply whether at every stage throughout the career of a researcher from undergraduate student onward.
The process of ethical review is not intended to impede research activity, but to support the researcher in considering the ethical issues and how to manage them, the process also addresses any potential risks to both the researcher and any participants.
It is important to conduct research in line with ethical standards for a number of reasons:
When ethics are considered, this should ensure that the work is acceptable to the research community and other users of the research results.
Ethical applications at Manchester Met are submitted and processed via EthOS. Use your standard university credentials to log in and select the application route most appropriate for you. If you are unsure of the application route you should use, please contact your faculty research officer (details can be found below).
Data protection guidance, including full details of how and when to conduct DP Assessments, is available to staff on the intranet.
For help with technical issues with EthOS please contact RKEfirstname.lastname@example.org
For help with matters of ethics processes and procedures, please first contact your Faculty research officer* as listed below. If necessary, the research officer will forward your query to the Faculty Head of REG.
If the Faculty is unable to provide a satisfactory answer, then please contact the University Research Ethics and Governance Managers named at the top of the list below. To help us address your query more efficiently, your email should mention the Faculty you are registered in/ associated with, the EthOs number of your application (if you have started one already) and your applicant status (staff applicant, PhD/ PGT/ UG student applicant, external applicant).
*Exception: Queries relating to HRA/NHS approval, Human Tissue Act, ionising radiation, or animal/plant research should be addressed directly to the University Research Ethics and Governance Managers.
Telephone +44 (0)161 247 2836
Telephone +44 (0)161 247 2853
Professor Susan Baines – Faculty Head of Research Ethics and Governance
Katherine Walthall - Research Group Officer
Telephone +44 (0)161 247 6673
Ethical questions and advice:
Ian Ashman - Faculty Head of Research Ethics and Governance
For queries related to ethics applications please contact:
Research Strategy, Planning and Governance Manager
Telephone +44 (0)161 247 3654
Ann Marie McDonald
Research Officer – Staff
Telephone +44 (0)161 247 6160
Professor Ricardo Nemirovsky - Faculty Head of Research Ethics and Governance
Adam Lovick – Research Group Officer
Professor Juliet Goldbart - Faculty Head f Research Ethics and Governance
Chris Wills - Research Group Officer
0161 247 2282
Andrew Jones - Faculty RKE Manager
0161 247 5202
Joe Hesketh - Faculty RKE Officer
0161 247 3645
Monwara Begum - Faculty RKE Administrator
0161 247 2530
Natasha Blank - Faculty RKE Administrator
0161 247 5286
Isabel Railson - Ethics administrator
Dr Gethin Evans - Faculty Head of Research Ethics and Governance
Claire Moss - Faculty RKE Manager
Leena Parmar - RKE Officer
Holly Preston- RKE Officer
Amy Clow - RKE Officer
Ben Green - RKE Officer
If your research involves NHS staff, patients or their data or tissue, you may need to seek approval from the Health Research Authority.
HRA Approval is the new process for the NHS in England that brings together the assessment of governance and legal compliance, undertaken by dedicated HRA staff, with the independent REC opinion provided through the UK Health Departments' Research Ethics Service.
Applications for HRA Approval are submitted via the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS).
Visit the HRA website to see if your study needs HRA Approval.
For advice of guidance, please contact the Ethics and Research Governance Manager.
Once you have identified that your research requires HRA Approval, you will need two letters from MMU to complete your application. One letter confirms Manchester Metropolitan University academic sponsorship of the research study and the second confirms that there are appropriate insurance arrangements in place for the research study.
The University has standard templates for these letters. As soon as you start the process of applying to for HRA Approval, you should send the following information to RKE and Finance and Legal Services who will prepare the letters for you:
All NHS applications require authorisation by the academic sponsor. The University has one designated person who can confirm sponsorship of the research study. The designated individual at Manchester Metropolitan University is Dr Justine Daniels, Director of Research & Knowledge Exchange.
Please refer to the SOP 8 (Sponsorship) under the Standard Operating Procedures section of the 'Ethics and Governance' page.
The Human Tissue Act (2004) was fully implemented on 1st September 2006. The Act covers the use of tissue for a number of 'Scheduled Purposes' which include research, clinical diagnosis and teaching. The Act makes consent the fundamental principle underpinning the lawful storage and use of human tissue from the living or the deceased for specified health-related purposes and public display. This includes `residual´ tissue remaining following clinical and diagnostic procedures. It also covers the removal of such material from the deceased.
The Human Tissue Authority is the regulatory body for all matters concerning the removal, storage, use and disposal of human tissue (excluding gametes and embryos) for Scheduled Purposes. The Authority has issued good practice guidance in its Codes of Practice and answers to Frequently Asked Questions are available. The HTA also licences a number of activities under the Act, one of which is the storage of tissue for research.
Manchester Metropolitan University currently holds a licence for the storage of human tissue for the purposes of research. The licence is held by Professor Tristan McKay.
Members of the University who are using human tissue in their research are required to adhere to the guidance and standard operating procedures laid out in the HTA Quality Manual.
The information sheet is an important part of recruiting research participants. It ensures that the potential participants have sufficient information to make an informed decision about whether to take part in your research or not. All participants should be given an information sheet to take away. This ensures that participants can consider whether to take part without pressure and have the information that they need in order to give informed consent.
The information sheet should give a brief summary of the research project and its aims, the language used should be for a non-expert audience.
It should also outline what participation means in practice; how long participation takes, where it takes place and what it involves. The following list provides an overview of the type of information that should be included, it is not exhaustive:
Participant Information Sheets will vary in different fields of research dependent on the audience and the nature of the research. The points below are intended to provide help and support:
Potential recruits to your research must be given sufficient information to allow them to decide whether or not they want to take part.
Where research involves face-to-face interviews, focus groups, direct observation or similar methods of data collection, participants should normally be given a Participant Information Sheet and asked to sign a consent form.
Clear evidence must be obtained that the participant has given informed consent to take part in the study. The University expects that this will normally be in the form of a signed consent form although other evidence may be acceptable (for example by audio recording consent). If you are considering an alternative way of obtaining consent, you should seek advice from your Faculty Head of Research Ethics and Governance.
Where participants are asked to complete and return a questionnaire, the questionnaire should be accompanied by a covering letter but no consent form is needed: consent is implied by returning the questionnaire. The covering letter, however, should include information similar to that in a Participant Information Sheet.
There are very few situations, if your research involves people where consent is not required.