Non-clinical research ethics

Guidance on ethical review and approval of non-clinical research involving people.

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The ethical review and approval of non-clinical research involving human participants proposed by staff and students is overseen by six School Research Ethics Committees (SRECs). Security-sensitive research (whether or not involving human participants) will also require ethical approval and should be referred to the Convener of the University Research Ethics Committee (UREC) in the first instance.

SRECs are responsible for maintaining ethical standards of practice in non-clinical research involving human participants, in order to protect participants and researchers from harm, preserve participants’ rights, and ensure public trust in the conduct of research at the University.

SRECs report directly to the University Research Ethics Committee (UREC), which provides oversight, monitoring and guidance to the School Research Ethics Committees. 

    Tayside biorepository

    If a project will involve use of anonymised tissue and associated data from NHS patients that is surplus to diagnostic and surgical requirements and will be obtained from a tissue bank you should obtain ethical approval through the Tayside Biorepository.  

    Security-sensitive research

    Processes are currently being developed for review and approval of research involving access to, and use, of security-sensitive, radical or extreme material. If your research falls within this category please contact the Convener of UREC for advice.

    Additional requirements

    Ethical approval may not be a sufficient precondition for carrying out the research. For example, researchers working with children and/or protected adults in Scotland will need to apply to Disclosure Scotland for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme.

    Any necessary risk assessment needs to be carried out before the research begins and researchers must abide by all appropriate health and safety regulations, contact safety services for advice.

    Research must also comply with all relevant data protection legislation, contact for advice.