Applying for Ethical Approval

Step 1

Does your research involve human subject or tissue and or non-public data?


Yes - my research involves human subjects and/or non-public data

Yes - my research involves human subjects Human Tissue in Research and/or non-public data

 (ACTION - Proceed to Step 2)


No - my research ONLY involves access to literature

No - my research ONLY involves access to data in the public domain and/or open websites without an identifiable gatekeeper

(ACTION - It seems likely that your research does not require ethical approval. If you are unsure, then please check with your supervisor or contact the ethics committee.)


Step 2

You will need to apply for ethical approval.

This step will help you find which committee you need to go to and what actions need to be taken.


Does your research involve NHS patients, patient data or NHS staff?


Yes - my research involves NHS patients, patient data or NHS staff

(ACTION - Proceed to step 3)


No - my research involves human subjects or personal data but is not NHS based and does not use NHS resources.

(ACTION - You will need to submit Standard Ethical Approval Pro-Forma to Swansea University Medical School Research Ethics Sub-Committee.)

Use the guidance notes to help you complete the form - Guidance notes for standard ethical approval

(IMPORTANT - If your research is based in healthcare outside the UK, then you should seek ethical approval in the country/institution involved where possible in addition to seeking approval from the Swansea University Medical School Research Ethics Sub-Committee).

Step 3

It is likely that your research proposal is subject to NHS research ethics approval.

Some NHS research may fall outside the remit of the local research ethics committee and, in the first instance, it is recommended that you contact the appropriate local research ethics committee organiser. Some research may be considered as audit or service evaluation under their terms of reference and be exempt from their scrutiny. If this is the case, ask for a letter confirming this and apply to the SUMS Research Ethics Sub-Committee.

If an application to the local research ethics committee is required, then it can be done via IRAS (Integrated Research Application System). If you are a student of the Medical School, then you should apply via the Medical School's Research Ethics Sub-Committee prior to making an application to the NHS system.

If you are conducting research as part of a Masters programme, then the NHS system requires that your supervisor is named as the principle investigator and you will also need to apply to the University for a letter of indemnity.

You will also need to get permission from your Trust Research and Development group. An IRAS application should also be completed.

(IMPORTANT - Where you are conducting research outside the UK, ethical permission should be sought locally as well as through the Swansea University Medical School Research Ethics Sub-Committee.)