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Research Integrity


Human participants and personal data

Cambridge Ethical Review

The University of Cambridge is committed to providing a rigorous and independent ethical review process that is proportionate to the potential risk. The University recognises that in a significant number of cases the involvement of an ethics committee may not be necessary. However, it expects all researchers embarked on research involving human participants or personal data to consider the ethical risks of their work and, in case of doubt, to seek appropriate advice.

Any project that is identified at the outset (by the researcher, supervisor, Faculty or Department) as requiring ethical review should be referred to the appropriate local or School-level Research Ethics Committee. 

As required, advice should be sought at a local level in the first instance.

Researcher Where to seek advice
Undergraduate students Supervisor or mentor.
Postgraduate students Supervisor or mentor.
Research staff
  1. Local REC or the ethics contact in the Department.
  2. Head of Department.
  3. Appropriate School-level REC
Any other person conducting research on University premises As above.

A research ethics review flowchart has also been produced that provides further guidance on when and where to seek ethical review - this should be used to supplement, and not replace local advice.

External ethical review

Most research involving NHS patients, staff or facilities will come under the Research Governance Framework for Health and Social Care and will require ethical review. A range of other types of clinical and social science research also requires NRES review, for further details see the NRES review guidance page. Research that requires review by an external body, such as a National Research Ethics Service (NRES) Committee, should be identified and referred to that body as early as possible in the review process.For details on how to refer cases to NRES, please contact the Clinical School’s Governance Officer.

Please note, it is also necessary to seek permission from Anglia Ruskin University if your research study involves their students or staff. For further information, please refer to the ARU policy on external research:

Animal research

Where research projects involve animals, refer for advice to UBS HO Licencing as these projects may be considered under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 ASPA. Ethical review by an Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body AWERB in UBS includes review of Non-Regulated procedures; in the UK, Overseas and for teaching purposes. The University of Cambridge Animal Welfare Policy and Working with animals in the UK, EU and overseas Overseeing animal research | University of Cambridge are stipulated.