(i) The College Research Ethics Committee is responsible for determining the acceptability or otherwise on ethical grounds of proposals for College research projects or programmes carried out under the auspices of the College and for advising on the ethical issues involved. The Committee may delegate that responsibility to the academic Schools for routine research proposals subject to the provisions of terms of reference (iv) and (v). The criteria for School referral to the College Research Ethics Committee are set out below.
(ii) The remit of the Committee is mainly concerned with, but is not limited to, those research projects or programmes which involve human subjects, including human data or human material.
(iii) The Committee shall have the freedom to consult whatever evidence and opinions it considers appropriate to ensure that decisions relating to approval of ethical aspects of research methods are based solely on ethical grounds, and not, for example, on financial interests or solely on the basis of unquestioned current practice.
(iv) The Committee shall ensure that Schools have appropriate mechanisms for addressing ethical issues raised by the research of staff or students.
(v) The Committee shall meet annually in the Autumn term to receive annual reports from Schools and make any necessary recommendations to Schools.
(vi) Otherwise the Committee shall be convened (or have cases referred to it, which the Committee may consider by circulation of papers) whenever the need arises and in response to requests from Faculties or Schools and shall report formally in writing its responses to business put before it.
(vii) The Committee shall make an annual report to Governors on actions taken and decisions made during the preceding year. The Committee’s annual report shall also be sent to the Academic Board for its information.
(viii) In addition the Committee shall have an advisory role on established and evolving ethical issues and shall contribute to ethical awareness and training.
Criteria for School referral to the College Research Ethics Committee:
In the following cases the School Ethics Committee will refer ethical review to the College Research Ethics Committee (CREC). Such referrals will include details of a recommendation from the School Ethics Committee, where appropriate:
All cases involving human tissue
All cases involving a doubt/disagreement/dispute which cannot be resolved at School level; this includes cases where the proposer of the research disagrees with the decision of the School Ethics Committee
Where there is a requirement by an external funder/sponsor for the research to be reviewed at College level
All cases of predictable media interest or ethical sensitivity
All cases where there is a perceived risk of a physical or psychological reaction resulting in more than a transient effect
All cases involving vulnerable populations
Where there are unresolved issues around supervision of the research
Approved by Governors, 15 December 2005