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University Statement on External Research Projects

University colleagues and students may occasionally be invited to participate in external research projects sponsored by other universities, research organisations, commercial entities or charities.

Although these studies are not typically conducted on University premises, they may be advertised on our campuses via posters, leaflets, social media platforms or mailing lists. This type of activity falls outside the scope of the University’s Research Ethics Policy 2024, however the following guidance on the expected standards should be followed.

Guidance for External Researchers

An ‘External Researcher’ is defined as someone who is carrying out research under the auspices of an external company or another University.

The University does not have a central platform or mailing list for recruiting internal research participants. Therefore permission should be sought directly with the relevant department. An individual who can provide access to potential research participants is referred to as an ‘Internal Gatekeeper’.

In order to safeguard our colleagues and students, Newcastle University expects that all external research projects meet the highest ethical standards in relation to working with human participants. Participation should be entirely voluntary and free from coercion, and participants should have the right to withdraw from the study at any time. Please refer to the University’s online ethics toolkit for additional guidance on good practice.

A copy of the study protocol and confirmation of ethical approval from the organisation sponsoring the research should be provided to the Internal Gatekeeper to support the request.

Please note that Newcastle University will not undertake an ethical review of the study or provide ethical approval for the project. External Researchers should also ensure that suitable insurance arrangements are put in place as the University is not liable for external projects.

Please also note that any opinions expressed by individual research participants should not be interpreted as the opinion of Newcastle University.

Guidance for University colleagues and students

It is generally accepted that participation in any external research project will be on a voluntary basis, and therefore a personal choice for individual colleagues and students. If you choose to take part in an external study, this should be on the understanding that you are participating in the research as an individual rather than a representative of Newcastle University. Ideally, the activity should be also scheduled outside normal working or study hours.

It should be noted that the University is not accountable for the management of external research projects. Therefore, any questions, comments or concerns should be addressed to the Lead Researchers or the organisation to which they belong using the contact details provided on the study documents.

Guidance for Internal Gatekeepers

In order to access staff and student mailing lists, External Researchers usually make direct contact with a School or Research Institute. This person is referred to as an ‘Internal Gatekeeper’. For data protection reasons, the personal details (such as names and email addresses) of University colleagues and students should never be shared with External Researchers. However, information about a study may be circulated internally if the Internal Gatekeeper is satisfied that the study meets the University’s ethical standards and that ethical approval has been granted by an appropriate body.

If in doubt, please contact your local Faculty Research Ethics Committee for advice:

Guidance for Faculty Research Ethics Committee Chairs

Faculty Research Ethics Committees may be approached for advice on whether an external study meets the University’s ethical standards. This would usually be demonstrated by evidence of ethical approval from a recognised body. However, external studies should not be re-reviewed or reapproved by an internal Committee, as the University is neither hosting nor sponsoring the study.


For further information please contact Research and Innovation email: