College of Science & Engineering


Appendix to "Procedures for ethical review and approval of research".

Summary of existing ethical review mechanisms

Biomedical research using human subjects or tissue

Any research involving the following must obtain a favourable opinion from the South East Scotland Research Ethics Service before it commences:

South East Scotland Research Ethics Service

  • Patients or users of the NHS
  • Relatives or carers of NHS patients/users
  • Access to the personal data or bodily material of NHS patients
  • Foetal material and IVF involving NHS patients
  • The recently dead in NHS premises
  • NHS staff recruited as research participants by virtue of their professional role
  • The use of, or potential access to, NHS premises/facilities Specific areas that may require further approvals include research involving human embryos (the UK Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority) and gene therapy (the UK Gene Therapy Advisory Committee).

WMA Declaration of Helsinki - Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects

Research using animals

The Home Office requires the University, as a designated establishment under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, to have a formal ethical review process for any scientific research carried out under the Act. An Ethical Review Committee established within the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine reviews and approves applications to the Home Office for a licence under the Act.

University students as subjects

The University's Student Survey Panel assesses requests for access to the University's student body for the purpose of research projects and surveys. (Where such work is conducted within a single School, the Head of School's approval only is required, and this should be obtained through the School's normal ethics procedures.)

Student Survey Panel

Links to other University of Edinburgh Research Ethics Webpages

Research Policy Group (which provides oversight of ethics and integrity issues for the University)

College of Humanities and Social Science

College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

Society codes of conduct and ethics concerns

(Note ‘Instructions to Authors’ quite often contain ethical guidelines, particularly with regard to plagiarism)

Institute of Biology

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Institute of Mathematics and its Applications

Royal Society of Chemistry

British Computer Society

Institution of Mechanical Engineers


Journal of Medical Ethics

Journal of Ethics