Research ethics policy and procedures Research ethics policy and procedures


UEA takes a wide view of activity that requires ethics approval: "If it looks like research it is research". Further details and guidance notes are contained in the UEA research ethics policy.

Any research project which involves human participants, human tissue, data relating to living humans, and/or which may have a potential to affect the environment or cultural objects has to gain ethical approval from the relevant Ethics Committee (S-REC) BEFORE starting the work.

Ethics applications from the Science Schools are normally reviewed by Science Faculty Research Ethics Committee (SCI-REC). This committee has particular expertise in issues related to computing and environmental impacts. It also considers a wide range of survey, interview, observation and experimental work involving human participants.

If your research involves animals, either in a laboratory setting or if it involves collecting, surveying or sampling species from the wild, the proposed research needs to be reviewed by the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Board (AWERB). Applicants should complete an Animal Ethics Information Form.

If your research involves NHS sites or patients, ethics review via the NHS Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) may be required. To help decide whether your project needs NHS REC ethics review, please refer to the HRA decision tool.

If your research may affect cultural objects you should submit your application to HUM-REC and if it involves potentially sensitive work with school pupils it should be reviewed by EDU-REC.


Ethics applications from the Science Schools are reviewed by Science Faculty Research Ethics Committee (SCI-REC) which is a sub-committee of the University Research Ethics Committee (U-REC). U-REC reports to both Senate and Council, as it is responsible for the proper conduct of research carried out within the University.

SCI-REC was formed in October 2019 following a reorganisation of S-RECs in the University; it reviews applications from all the Schools in the Science Faculty and applications from elsewhere that are within its areas of specialist expertise.


You should complete the SCI-REC Research Ethics Application Form (DOCx,104 KB) and send it to application will be allocated to a lead reviewer for consideration.

For straightforward applications you should normally expect a decision within 10 working days. More complex applications (e.g. involving deception, sensitive information) are likely to take longer, as they may need to be considered by the whole Committee.

The result of the review will be either that the application is accepted unconditionally,accepted subject to some conditions, referred for revision, or rejected.

The most common reasons for referring applications and requiring them to be resubmitted are inadequate descriptions of purpose of the research, how long it should take participants, consent, contact details and any risks or benefits to participants, missing explanations of how subjects will be recruited and the target number of subjects.

Module-level ethics approval

If you are the organiser of a module which includes activities that are covered by the UEA ethics policy, you should seek approval for these activities using the Module Ethics Review form (docx.54KB). Activities that might require this include assignments which include surveys, focus groups, interviews, behaviour recording, and fieldwork activities that might have an impact on the natural environment or cultural heritage.