The University of Cambridge has four School-level Research Ethics Committees that can review projects involving Human participants and personal data. Some Departments, Faculties and Institutes also have their own local Research Ethics Committees or procedures. The list below provides brief guidance on the remit of the Committees and information on how to contact them.
School-level Research Ethics Committees
Cambridge Human Biology Research Ethics Committee
Considers applications for ethical approval for research programmes in human biology at the University of Cambridge, where these do not come under NRES review. The Committee is constituted from senior members of those Departments from which applications are most commonly made. For further information on the Committee, including membership and how to make an application for ethical approval, please see their website.
Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee
Considers applications for ethical approval for research programmes in human psychology at the University of Cambridge, where these do not come under NRES review. The Committee is constituted from senior members of Departments from which applications are most commonly made. For further information on the Committee, including membership and how to make an application for ethical approval, please see their website.
Cambridge Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee
Will consider applications from researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences at the University of Cambridge. The Committee considers cases that cannot be, or would not be appropriate to be, dealt with at a local level. The Committee provides guidance to Faculties/Departments/Centres and to researchers on the types of research which should be referred to it. For further information see the Committee's webpage
Cambridge School of Technology Research Ethics Committee
This Committee was established in 2012. Generally, authority to consider cases in the School of Technology is delegated to departmental committees. In complex circumstances, however, cases can be referred to this Committee. For more information see the School's Ethical Code for Research.
The following institutions in the School of Technology consider studies/experiments involving human subjects:
- Computer Laboratory: Contact: Dr Alan Blackwell;
- Department of Engineering: Contacts: Philip Guildford;
- Judge Business School: Contact: Katie Jones; Dr Matthew Jones; Dr Jochen Menges;
- Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology: Contact: Dr Sabine Bahn.
Local Research Ethics Committees and Processes
Computer Laboratory Ethics Committee
This Committee is a small, specialist team drawn from within the Department. Research in the Computer Laboratory often involves experiments on human subjects at all levels of complexity, the committee will offer advice and review where appropriate. Further information is available at http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/local/policy/ethics/.
The Committee can be contacted via the Committee administrator, Dinah Pounds.
Institute of Criminology Ethics Committee
This Committee functions largely in an advisory capacity in relation to applications to external bodies. It draws upon the British Society of Criminology's Code of Ethics. The committee largely serves to help researchers prepare for submissions to national bodies, but also gives confirmation that ethical dimensions of the research have been considered within the Institute. Students and staff are not obliged to submit their proposals to the Institute's committee and may use other research ethics committees within the University or beyond.
For further details, please contact the Institute.
Faculty of Divinity Committee
The ethical approval process for the Faculty of Divinity is available on the Faculty's Research Integrity and Ethics website.
Faculty of Education Standing Panel on Research Ethics
The Standing Panel consists of the Head of Faculty and all Professors, Readers, Senior Lecturers and Senior Research Associates within the Faculty. Any member of the Faculty (staff or student) can raise ethical issues with the Panel and it will also address concerns raised by individuals outside the Faculty.
For more details, please see the Faculty website.
Department of Engineering Research Ethics Committee
The Department of Engineering REC provides advice to the Department's researchers on the ethical considerations of their research projects and can provide ethica review for projects in the Department.
For more details, please see the Department's ethics website (Raven).
Department of Geography Ethics Review Group
The Department's Review Group handles the initial ethical review if required by research funding bodies. In cases where a full review of ethical issues is required, the project will be referred to the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee, which is consistent with the requirements of a funding body which requires ethical review (for example, as outlined in the ESRC's Ethical Research Framework).
For more information see the Department's ethics website.
The Judge Business School Research Ethics Review Group
The Judge Review Group provides guidance and expedited ethical approval for researchers and students in the Business School. The Group may seek external specialist advice where potential concerns are identified. Where formal University-level ethical review is required, applications should be made to a School-level Research Ethics Committee (i.e. the most appropriate out of the School of Technology, Human Biology, Psychology or Humanities and Social Sciences Committees).
For further information please contact Katie Jones.
Faculty of Law Ethics Committee
Initial ethical review of research in the Faculty of Law is carried out by the Faculty’s Research Ethics Committee using discipline-specific knowledge to assess the ethical issues in a research project. For details see the Faculty's research ethics webpage.
The Faculty of Music Ethics Committee
The Faculty Ethics Committee provides ethical advice and review for research carried out in the Faculty. For guidance on the types of research that require consideration, see the Faculty's ethical guidelines.
Department of Politics and International Studies Ethics Committee
The ethical approval process for the Department of Politics and International Studies is available on the Department's website.
Department of Psychology Ethics Committee
The Department of Psychology Ethics Committee provides review for undergraduate and graduate research projects in the department. If the PEC feels a project may raise ethical issues that require the PREC or REC, it will advise the supervisor to apply to the relevant committee.
Post-doctoral research projects or those led by a PI that require ethical approval should be sent to the Psychology Research Ethics Committee (via the School of the Biological Sciences) as usual.
The PEC is also available for occasional consultation on ethical issues to any member of the Department of Psychology.
For further details see the Committee website.
The Department of Sociology Ethics Committee
The Committee provides ethical review for undergraduate and graduate student research in the Department of Sociology. Its remit is to ensure that research conducted in the Department conforms with (a) ethical standards set by the discipline's professional bodies and the academic profession as a whole, and (b) legal provisions and responsibilities, especially those governing universities.
The Committee acts as a filter and a monitor: if it assesses that a project does not raise any serious ethical issue or risks, it will give approval. More complex cases will be referred to the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee.
For more details see the Department's website.
Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (DTAL)
Researchers and students in the DTAL can access guidance on local ethics approval procedures and support here.