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 School of Health and Social Care 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 School 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.

You can review the SU flowchart for gaining ethical approval here: Ethical Review Pathway Map

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 respect of Undergraduate and Masters students who would be wishing to seek IRAS approval for their research (i.e. undertaking research on patients) please see update in respect of ongoing Pandemic here.

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 reviewed by the committee (through online zoom meetings) on the first and third working Monday of each month. Applicants should then receive a response from the Chair within five working days. Applications should be sent to the Chair no later than 5pm on the Monday preceding the meeting.

Meetings scheduled for 2021 are as follows:

6th September

20th September

4th October

18th October

1st November

15th November

6th December

20th December

Further dates will be added in due course.

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/research-planning/student-research/
  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.

The university has now developed a Safe Operating Procedure whereby face to face research may be allowed to recommence. This is subject to strict criteria and please refer to the link below specifically on Covid 19 information where all relevant documentation can be accessed.

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 School.

Update from HRA/NHS in respect of applications for NHS based research: 

Update on decision to pause reviewing applications for undergraduate and masters' student projects during the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance relates to health and social care research projects conducted for educational purposes by undergraduate and masters' students.

In March 2020, the HRA and devolved administrations announced our decision to stop reviewing applications for individual undergraduate and master’s student projects until further notice, while we prioritised the urgent review of COVID-19 studies. This was also due to the significant pressure on the NHS/HSC, limiting their ability to participate in research studies which were unrelated to COVID-19.

This pause on health and social care research for educational purposes has now been extended until September 2021. The decision is in line with national priorities for NHS/HSC to support COVID-19 studies and the restart of clinical trials, studies and research and recognises the continuing pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision has been taken in collaboration with partners in the devolved administrations.

We are not reviewing applications for any individual undergraduate and masters' student research projects until September 2021.

This means that any student project requiring approvals will not be able to proceed.  You can find information below about other ways in which students can gain experience of health and social care research which do not require ethics review or study wide review.


HRA are committed to engaging our stakeholders as part of the development of ongoing guidelines for student research.
To receive updates about student research including examples of good practice, please sign up to HRA alerts.

 

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.