Coronavirus Recovery: advice and latest information

Since February 2017, The Medical School has had its own separate Research Ethics Committee.

For any Medical School Submissions, please visit the Medical School Research Ethics and Governance Committee Web Page

The remit of the College of Human and Health Sciences (CHHS) Research Ethics Committee (REC) is as follows:

Students: To ethically review all *research on human participants and/or data which is not publicly available. (When conducting research outside the UK, ethical permission should be sought locally as well as through the College ethics committee).

*In respect of students, the term ‘research’ is given a broader definition to encompass service evaluation, where this concerns human participants.

Staff: To provide an ethical review for research on human participants and/or data which is not publicly available when no other system for formal ethical review is available.

*Where research involves the collection of human samples from non-NHS patients and they are storing that tissue for any period of time they either need to have NHS REC approval or hold it under the HTA licence – University REC is not sufficient for storing human samples, even if they are from healthy volunteers/students. 

See Swansea University guidelines on the collection of human tissue.

Excluded:

  • Research by staff which requires NHS research ethics scrutiny
  • Research where no human subjects or personal data are accessed (such as a review of literature)
  • Research using publicly available data.
  • Personal reflective practice-based work.

Submission:

Your electronic submission should all be contained within 1 document, signed by the applicant (where relevant both applicant and academic supervisor) and should be emailed to CHHS-Ethics@swansea.ac.uk

*Corona virus update: To all staff and students who are currently in the process of submitting Ethics applications for research. Please note that the following does not apply to Psychology applications.

In light of the current situation, it has been agreed that with immediate effect all applications currently in the process of being submitted will now be subject to different criteria. All applications received by the Chair of the Ethics Committee (Angela Smith – a.m.smith@swansea.ac.uk) will be allocated for review on a weekly basis. Review will be collated by the Chair, Deputy Chair and a member of the Committee. It is anticipated that the majority of submissions will then be able to be dealt with by Chair’s action but if necessary ad hoc meetings of a full committee will be conducted to discuss any research that needs a more robust discussion. These meetings will be conducted online.

Please note that all research that is currently proposed should also take account of the following which has been provided by Anjana Choudhuri (Research Integrity Manager/ Rheolwr Uniondeb Ymchwil) - 

  1. Researchers to consult the  Govt. coronavirus webpage link.https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response  prior to responding to any new communication.
  2. General advice to researchers and research participants should be that all face to face interactions should be minimised, and where possible stopped, with immediate effect.
  3. All ongoing research should make changes to how participant interactions are conducted.
  4. Research participants should be informed that the research has been paused (if no other option of data collection could be arrived at) with an explanation of how the research method would change.
  5. Wherever possible, it would be better if, with the agreement of participants, interviews are conducted over the phone or through an online interaction method.
  6. Researchers must consider if they can adapt their research to conduct participant interactions remotely. If this isn’t possible then the research must be paused.
  7. Research protocols and consent forms should be revised to reflect the change in the manner in which data would be gathered.
  8. Those conducting research with the NHS should consult the HRA webpages https://www.hra.nhs.uk/planning-and-improving-research/policies-standards-legislation/covid-19-guidance-sponsors-sites-and-researchers/
  9. Wherever possible research within the laboratories should be stopped, and if not possible, then should be conducted according to the Govt. coronavirus guidance/ measures of hygiene and distancing .
  10. All field trips and Travel for research (staff and students) should be suspended indefinitely.
  11. No overseas travel for research should be undertaken. This includes attending conferences/Seminars.
  12. Unless the changes made to the way in which researchers interact with participants results in a substantial change to protocol, they will not need to submit a modification request.  They should simply update recruitment documents to outline how they will remotely interact and then proceed. Kindly note that this is only a temporary measure.
  13. Students should consult with academic supervisors about any changes to protocol.
  14. Supervisors should consider what amount of data, gathered by students is ample to arrive at research conclusion.

Pedagogic Research:

If the researcher is conducting ongoing pedagogic research on students as an integrated part of daily lessons, then this permission must be re-requested in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, and assurance sought that the permission previously given still stands. Any researcher who is recruiting students outside of their own College/School must move to remote recruitment or pause the study as outlined above.

New studies relating to COVID-19 (Guidance issued by King’s College London).

Kindly use similar principle if relevant to your research area:

  • An expedited review process will be considered for any new studies relating to COVID-19 where there are proven public health grounds to commence.
  • In order for such a study to gain clearance to proceed with face-to-face participant interactions and for this review to be expedited, the Principal Investigator must provide the following information:
  • What are public health grounds for the study to be conducted?
  • What is the rationale for the study to be conducted at this time? Why can it not be conducted at a later time?
  • Evidence of a Risk Assessment, considering the potential risk to the researcher themselves, signed off by the College Director of Research and Chair of College Ethics committee.
  • Researchers should copy their email to the Research Governance Officer researchgovernance@swansea.ac.uk
  • Please title the email “New Study relating to COVID-19” for prioritisation.

If you have any specific queries in relation to sponsorship of research, then kindly get in touch with Paola Griffiths (researchgovernance@swansea.ac.uk), who has an updated spreadsheet with information on University sponsored research by College.

Read More about how PEER can help you

Students

Get help from the Patient Experience and Evaluation in Research Group before you apply for ethical approval.  Read more here about How PEER can help.