Please consult the UREC COVID-19 webpage for the latest guidance on research involving human participants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Non-Clinical Research Ethics

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. For further details on membership and remit of UREC and the SRECS please see:

Tayside Medical Sciences Centre (TASC)

Please note that if a proposed project will involve any of the following activities, then you should refer to the website of the Tayside Medical Sciences Centre (TASC) to identify the correct policy to govern the research ( and contact the TASC Research Governance Office ( for advice on the appropriate approval route:.

  • patients, their carers, or volunteers in the NHS (in hospital, General Practitioners, community care)
  • the investigation of the safety or efficacy of a medicine, foodstuff, medical device or placebo in humans
  • access to collections of patient data
  • use of any NHS resources including staff time, clinical support services or NHS facilities
  • research within prisons
  • research involving adults (aged 16 or over) with incapacity
  • social care research with NHS patients or a mix of NHS patients and social care users
  • use of tissue for genetic analysis/diagnosis or a therapeutic purpose
  • the collection or use of donor identifiable human biological samples
  • human biological samples obtained from a tissue bank

The helpline of the East of Scotland Research Ethics Service (EoSREC; provides an additional source of advice on NHS Research Ethics Committee (NHS REC) approval for this type of project. Please note that studies not requiring NHS REC approval (for example, those involving NHS staff as participants) will still require NHS R&D Permission (contact for advice).

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).