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Ethical Review Process

The University Ethics Form can be accessed through the link below:

Newcastle University Ethics On-line Form [version 2.1.1 updated 08/08/2017]

If the form takes a long time to complete you can save the form by clicking the ‘Resume Later’ button. You can return to your form by clicking the 'Load unfinished survey' button. Changes cannot be made once submitted; any changes after submission will need a new form.

The University Ethics Form is a combination of the previously separate ‘Preliminary Ethical Approval Form’ and the ‘Full Ethics Review Form’. The content is the same as in the old forms however the combined form reduces duplication and administrative effort.

Although one form it works in two parts.

Part One – Preliminary Questions

 In the first stage you are asked for key details about your project (title, Principal Investigator etc.) as well as whether you already have approval in place.

The preliminary questions are designed to determine whether your project will need a full ethical review. There are six distinct sections; Animals, NHS & Social Care, Humans In a non-clinical setting, Data, Environment International and depending on your answers  you will be directed to the most appropriate ethical review committee. The four potential outcomes from the preliminary questions are:

- External ethical approval required from the NHS REC (www.nres.nhs.uk)
- Ethical approval required from Animal Welfare Ethics Review Board
- Ethical approcal required from a Faculty Ethics Committee
- No further ethical review required

(If you have already obtained ethical approval, you will be provided with the opportunity to note this and in doing so you will not be required to complete the rest of the form).

If you do require further ethical review from a Newcastle committee then you will be asked for further information in part two.  The first part of the form should take no more than ten minutes.

Part Two – Further Details

Part two is completed where part one has highlighted the need for further information. This can be due to the potential ethical risk of the project but also where your answers have highlighted some potential governance issues.

The additional questions in part two correspond to the risk areas in part one but the actual questions you will have to answer will depend on your answers in part one. For example you will only be asked further questions on the environment if your responses to part one flagged the project as potentially harmful to the environment. There are some sections which are asked for all high risk projects, these include:

  • Project Outline & Research Methods
  • Data
  • Risk Considerations & Insurance
  • Permissions
  • Supporting Documentation
  • Declaration and Submission (this is the only section that low risk projects need to complete in part two)

As you progress through the form you will be asked to upload all the relevant documents e.g. Research data Management Plans, Consent forms etc. You will then be asked to sign the declaration and submit.

The amount of time it takes to complete the second part of the form will depend on the risk areas highlighted and how much information / supporting documentation you already have developed. As a minimum you should set 30 minutes aside.  Should the form take longer than expected you are able to save the form by clicking the ‘Resume Later’ button, you can then return to your form by clicking the 'Load unfinished survey' button. Please note that amendments cannot be made once submitted, so careful attention should be paid when completing the form. Should any substantive changes be required after submission a new form will need to be completed.

An introductory training session on the ethics process is available to all staff and students - please see the booking form on this page for upcoming dates. If you require more information or a specific section then you should contact res.policy@ncl.ac.uk.

Ethics Next Stages

For low risk projects and projects with pre-existing approval

At submission, a copy of the form and any associated attachments will be saved on the system and where it is a funded project on the relevant MyProjects record. The applicant will receive an email summarising the decision (i.e. that no further ethical review is required). Please save this email as some publishers require proof of ethical approval.

For high risk (non NHS) projects

At submission the form and any associated attachments will be sent directly to the relevant committee for review. Additional copies will be kept on the system and where it is a funded project on the relevant MyProjects record. The applicant will receive an email summarising the reasons for further review and the committee which will undertake the review.

For NHS projects

At submission, a copy of the form and any associated attachments will be saved on the system and where it is a funded project on the relevant MyProjects record. The applicant will receive an email summarising the decision.

Where further review is required, no work should begin until all the relevant approval has been secured. The decision will be communicated to you directly from the relevant committee.