Research Ethics and Integrity
The University of Edinburgh is committed to ensuring that research ethics, integrity and governance have a high profile and are firmly embedded in the University's ethos and culture.
Code of Practice for Research
The Code of Practice for Research is an essential reference tool to support researchers and research organisations in the conduct of research of the highest quality and standards. The UKRIO's Code of Practice for Research is available to download from their website:
The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS) research ethics framework
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 more information about research integrity and relevant policies, codes of practice, training, guidance and support on research integrity, please see the Research Support Office's pages on Research Integrity.
CAHSS Research governance office support
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 any health-related research that involves humans, their tissue and/or data.
Under the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research 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.
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.
Who should I contact?
For projects within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the contact is:
Telephone number: +44 (0) 131 651 3916
The College Associate Dean (Research Ethics & Integrity) is Dr Ailsa Niven
Telephone number: +44 (0) 131 651 3916
Further research ethics policies and advice
Although allegations of misconduct in research are rare the University is committed to ensuring they are thoroughly investigated.
To make an allegation of research misconduct, please download the CAHSS Research Misconduct Reporting Form and send the completed form to CAHSS.ResearchMisconduct@ed.ac.uk.
Conflicts of interest and good research practice
The University recognises that conflicts of interest can inappropriately affect research and has produced a policy statement to assist with identifying conflicts of interest and to provide procedural guidance.
Research data management
Research involving obtaining data from people requires researchers to maintain high ethical standards. This includes such considerations as data protection legislation and obtaining informed consent from research participants.
Research funder ethics policy and guidance
Each of the Research Councils has its own regulations on ethics and research governance with some funders publishing detailed guidance and requirements.
Research Ethics and Integrity Review Group (REIRG)
The Research Ethics and Integrity Review Group (REIRG) was established by the Research Policy Group in autumn 2014. REIRG is a cross-College initiative that provides oversight and ensures that research integrity and governance is firmly embedded in the University’s ethos and culture.
REIRG promotes awareness and training in Integrity and Ethics, as well as identifying gaps in policy and ensuring that information on all aspects of integrity, ethics and governance are visible and up to date. REIRG meets three times a year. Follow the link below for more information on their work.