Research involving humans
Research involving humans - response to COVID-19
15 January 2021
Due to the current circumstances, researchers must consider using online or remote methods where at all possible.
Any in-person face-to-face research or research involving travel must be permissible, safe and ethical.
Due to the current circumstances and restrictions in Scotland and the rest of the UK, research involving in-person contact with human participants is only permissible in very limited situations. For more information see the University research and coronavirus page.
Researchers must check the University coronavirus information pages and travel and fieldwork guidance frequently and before commencing any activity to ensure they are complying with current requirements.
For more information on the ethical review process at this time, see the interim guidance for 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 fulfil their personal responsibility to act in accordance with 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:
If you are planning research involving the NHS, visit the Research involving the NHS page.