University Teaching and Research Ethics Committee (UTREC)
UTREC is responsible for overseeing the ethical review and approval of the University's research activities involving human participants, their data or samples.
UTREC is responsible for overseeing the University's research activity involving humans, their data or samples, including:
- determining and monitoring the procedures governing the ethical approval of such research
- determining and sharing best practice guidance regarding the ethical conduct of such research.
UTREC's role in the ethical review and approval of research
UTREC devolves ethical review and approval to School ethics committees (SECs). SECs can escalate ethical applications to UTREC for review in full (see Meetings section below).
UTREC requires that:
- all SEC members are trained
- SECs upload all applications they approve into a University database.
UTREC monitors and audits approvals by regularly reviewing summaries of all SEC approved applications (see Meetings below).
A sub-committee of UTREC is also responsible for establishing and maintaining a list of ethically approved research funders, see the ethical funder application page.
UTREC, the ethical review and approval process, and the conditions of UK data protection law
Data protection law requires that the University (the data Controller) has valid legal bases to process both personal data and personal data with special characteristics. In most instances, the legal bases for research in the University is that processing is necessary for research in the public interest (see the legal basis page for full details).
The Data Protection Act 2018 requires that the University demonstrate this public interest and meet the associated conditions i.e. appropriate safeguards around data to protect the confidentiality of individuals. The University does this through application of its governance measures, namely ethical review and approval (which includes data management planning). This ensures that processing these types of data for research is safe, proportionate, and is in the public interest.
Ethical review must be free from bias and undue influence.
This requires that researchers or supervisors are not involved in the review of proposals for which they have a conflict of interest; including the researchers, participants, or organisations related to the proposal. When applications are escalated to UTREC, UTREC members are responsible for actively identifying and declaring any conflicts of interest, and ensuring they are not involved in the review of any such proposals.
- Child panel representative.
- Representatives from all School ethics committees (SECs) that process greater than ten applications per academic year.
The minimum number of members required to be present at a UTREC meeting is four.
Oversight of UTREC
UTREC is an independent committee; as such it is chaired by an individual independent of the University research community (the UTREC Convenor).
The UTREC Convenor provides regular reports on key activities and issues to the Principal's Office.
The overall functioning and activity of UTREC is scrutinised by the Ethics and Research Integrity Assurance Group, which reports to the Audit and Risk Committee, who in turn report to University Court.
The UTREC office provides assurance information to research funders and others regarding the constitution and functioning of UTREC.
Role Name Vice-Principal (Governance) - Convener Alastair Merrill Layperson Dr Jamie Walker Child panel representative Dr Barbara Dritschel School of Art History Nicole Meehan School of Biology Dr Luke Rendell School of Computer Science Dr Tristan Henderson School of Geography and Sustainable Development Dr Antje Brown School of History Dr Angus Stewart School of International Relations Dr Diego Muro School of Medicine Dr Morven Shearer School of Modern Languages Dr Victoria Donovan School of Psychology and Neuroscience Shona Deigman Department of Social Anthropology Dr Stavroula Pipyrou School of Management Dr Vicky Ward and Dr Juliette Summers Graduate School Dr Emma Bond
UTREC meetings occur monthly (except for July and August). For specific dates and times, email the UTREC office at email@example.com.
Ethical application forms must be submitted to your School ethics committee (SEC) for review and approval.
If your school does not have a SEC, email the UTREC office at firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance.
In certain cases, SECs are entitled to escalate an application to UTREC. To do this, a SEC must email the UTREC office at email@example.com with:
- the ethical application form
- all supporting documents
- the SEC convenor's summary of the SEC's comments.
Escalation should only be considered if the application involves:
- vulnerable adults or child participants
- unusual techniques or issues that lie outside the expertise of the SEC and therefore require discussion at UTREC
- significant risk as perceived by the SEC.
UTREC welcomes input from Schools to inform the development of processes and guidance and sharing of best practice. SECs can raise issues for discussion at UTREC by:
- emailing the UTREC office at firstname.lastname@example.org
- asking their representative on UTREC (if they have one) to request it as an agenda item or raise it under any other business at the next UTREC meeting.
For both escalations or items for discussion, contact should be made with the UTREC office at least 8 days before the UTREC meeting.