Research & Knowledge Exchange

Research ethics

The University of Edinburgh has now replaced its Code of Good Practice in Research (November 2002) with the formal adoption of the UK Research Integrity Office’s Code of Practice for Research (2009).

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Code of Practice for Research

The UKRIO's Code of Practice for Research is available to download from their website:

The College has a research ethics framework. All research activities must comply with these guidelines. This framework for ethical conduct of research is guided by principles of: dignity, respect, care for others, honesty, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness and leadership.

Please note that these principles apply equally to staff and students in the College.

For procedures on obtaining ethical approval you should refer to your School research ethics webpages.

CHSS Research Governance Office Support

What is Research Governance?

Research Governance is ‘the broad range of regulations, principles and standards of good practice that exist to achieve, and continuously improve, research quality across all aspects of healthcare in the UK and worldwide.’ (APCRC)

Research Governance applies to everyone connected to Clinical Research, no matter how senior or junior, whether as a Chief Investigator, Care Professional, Researcher, their employer(s) or support staff.

By Clinical Research, we mean any health-related research that involves humans, their tissue and/or data.


Under the Research Governance Framework every research study relating to healthcare run in the UK is required by law to have a Sponsor. Sponsors ensure that studies are of a good quality, appropriately managed and funded, adhere to Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and are adequately indemnified

When would my study need a sponsor?

If your study involves human participants, their data or tissue then your study falls within the remit of the Research Governance Framework and may require sponsorship.

Typically this would be studies that are categorised as level 2/3 on the Research Ethics Application (REA) form.

Who should I contact?

For projects within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the contact is:

Jo-Anne Robertson, Research Governance Coordinator


Telephone number: +44 (0)131 651 1619 (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday)

+44 (0)131 242 9418 (Thursday only)

What support can be offered?

The Research Governance Coordinator can advise on:

  • Whether your study comprises clinical audit, service evaluation or research.
  • Whether your project will require sponsorship.
  • When approvals are required and how to gain those approvals (ethics, R&D).
  • Planning study set-up and ongoing advice and help through recruitment and follow-up.
  • Review (and Sponsor sign off) of applications to NHS research ethics committees and for NHS management approval (R&D).
  • Assistance regarding amendments to projects.

Other policies and advice