Research involving humans

If your research involves human participants, their data or samples, then ethical review and approval is mandatory and must be obtained before starting your research.

The University Teaching and Research Ethics Committee (UTREC) is the overarching committee which delegates to each School Ethics Committee the responsibility for the ethical review and approval of the University's research activities involving human participants or human tissues and samples.

Ethical review is a peer-review process to help researchers fulfill their personal responsibility to act in accordance with the the University’s Principles of Good Research Conduct (Policy) (PDF) and fully account for ethical issues related to research involving humans; and in doing so, minimise risk to the project, the researcher, the participants and the University.

Failure to obtain and adhere to ethical approvals is defined as research misconduct.

Definition of 'research'

In all documentation, guidance and web pages relating to research involving humans, the term 'research' refers to a process of investigation leading to new insights. 

For more information on this definition and the exemption of service evaluations and audits, please refer to the information on what projects require ethical review and approval.

For research involving the NHS:
NHS approvals must be obtained first and then ratified by a School ethics committee. Get in contact with researchintegrity@st-andrews.ac.uk to check whether you will need any NHS approvals and, if so, which approvals you will need and how to obtain them. Get in contact as early as possible as acquiring NHS approvals may take months. When applying for NHS ethical approval, researchers are still required to use the University's template documents.