Ethical review

Applying for ethical approval

There are different pathways to approval depending on your area of research.

The Faculty Research Ethics and Integrity Committees (FREICs), their applications forms and guidance will help you to understand what to include in your application and what issues need to be addressed. Please, find below the relevant section for your research.

The University Research Ethics and Integrity Committee (UREIC) has overall responsibility for the development, implementation and monitoring of research ethics and integrity policies, and has representatives from all FREIC committees. Professor Jerry Roberts is Chair of the Committee and is the University’s senior member of staff responsible for ethics and integrity. 

For further information contact the UREIC Secretary Dr John Martin or the UREIC Admin Dee Champion.

Research with NHS and social care subjects

Research with NHS and social care subjects is approved by the Health Research Authority (HRA). 

Research involving human tissue

The use of human tissue in research is covered by Human Tissue Act (2004) legislation for the storage and use of human tissue from the living, and the removal, storage and use of tissue from the deceased. The University of Plymouth holds a corporate licence to store human tissue classed as ‘relevant material’ under the Act, for research purposes only (not for human application). 

All studies involving human tissue must be University sponsored and have received NHS National Research Ethics Service approval and the relevant Faculty Research Ethics and Integrity Committee notified. On expiry of ethical approval, any remaining samples are booked in and stored under licence. 

The University guidelines are available here. (requires University sign-in).

Research with non-human live organisms

The use of animals at the University is carried out under the strict regulations of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act (1986)/EU Directive 2010/63/EU, operated by the Home Office

The University holds a Home Office establishment licence and all researchers are required to hold a personal licence in order to carry out any research involving animals. All such work is carried out under a specific project licence held for each individual project. Please, find detailed information about the University Governance Board and Animal Welfare, research guidance and ethical approval process on our Animals in research pages.

Faculty Research Ethics and Integrity Committees (FREICs)

Arts, Humanities and Business  

Research ethics information

Admin: Claire Butcher

Staff and PhD ethics applications for research in the following schools:

  • Art Design and Architecture
  • Humanities and Performing Arts
  • Law, Criminology and Government
  • Plymouth Business School
  • Plymouth Institute of Education
Co-Chairs: Professor Katharine Willis, Dr Rowena Passy, Mr Derek Shepherd


Research ethics information

Admins: Maurice Bottomley and Becky Anderson
Staff and PhD ethics applications for research in the following schools:

  • Biomedical Sciences 
  • Health Professions
  • Nursing and Midwifery
  • Peninsula Dental School
  • Peninsula Medical School
  • Psychology

Co-Chairs: Professor Sarah Neill, Dr Daniela Oehring, Dr Edward MeinertDr Giorgio Ganis and Dr Edith Steffen

Taught Masters student subcommittee (including Health and Social Work)

Co-Chairs: Dr Lisa Bunn, Dr Tracey Madgett and Dr Mahrukh Mirza

School of Health Professions Undergraduate committee

Chair: Professor Jenny Freeman