Research Ethics

The College Ethics & Governance Committee exists to ensure that research undertaken by staff and students in the college is conducted in an ethically sound manner, in accordance with the college and university policies on research ethics and the university’s policy on research integrity. The members are as follows:


Julia Jones – Professor in Conservation Science


John Latchford – College Health & Safety Manager


Jane Lee – PA to Dean of College

Members by Role

Julia Jones

Professor in Conservation Science (social)

John Latchford

College Health & Safety Manager and NAWCO (general)

Colin Ridyard

Senior Compliance and Regulations Officer (general)

Eefkee Mollee

School of Natural Sciences (school rep. SNS env., social)

John Mulley          

School of Natural Sciences (school rep. SNS bio/zoo, animals)

Ian McCarthy      School of Ocean Sciences (school rep. SOS, animals)
Peter Butcher                            

School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (school rep. SCSEE, general)

Cameron Gray 

School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (Cyber security)

Farnon Ellwood 

School of Natural Sciences (particular expertise on Nagoya protocol and import of biological specimens)

Rhys Morgan       School of Natural Sciences (animals)

Liz Morris    

School of Ocean Sciences (social)

Leejiah Dorward    

School of Natural Sciences (social)

Harriet Ibbett   

School of Natural Sciences (social)

Paul Cross         

School of Natural Sciences (social)

Ronan Roche  

School of Ocean Sciences (general)

Dave Chadwick    

School of Natural Sciences (general)

Graham Ormondroyd

BioComposites (general)

Alex Sutton    

School of Natural Sciences (general)

Lorna McKellar  

PGR student representative (general)

Ankita Bhattacharya   PGR student representative (general)

All research conducted in COESE must be screened for ethical issues. In many cases no further action is needed by the researcher and the screening forms can simply be kept on file. If ethical issues are identified, the research must be reviewed. The review procedures for students and staff in the college are laid out in a flow diagram available on the link below. Please keep the secretary of the committee (currently Jane Lee) in cc in all submissions to the ethics committee. Please note that students on taught programmes (undergraduates or taught post-graduate students) should not communicate directly with the ethics committee: all communication should go through their academic supervisor. If a student in the university conducts research without the appropriate ethical review, this is treated as academic misconduct as per the university regulations.

Click here for a summary of the ethical review procedures in CoESE *please note we are working on providing fully accessible versions of this file

Working with Animals

The legislation concerning experimentation on animals is quite complex. All living veterbrates and cephalopods except man are protected under the Animals(Scientific Procedures) Act (ASPA).Under ASPA authorisation from the Home Office is required for all procedures that are carried out on protected animals for a scientific purpose.A procedure is defined as anything with the potential to cause pain, suffering or lasting harm equivalent or greater than the insertion of a hypodermic needle by a competent person. It is quite easy to unwittingly commit an offence under ASPA. For example, many people might consider dipping the beak of a plaster cast model of a predatory bird such as a heron into an aquarium tank containing sticklebacks as unlikely to cause pain suffering or lasting harm if care is taken not to touch the fish with the model of the bird. However, this does have the potential to cause lasting harm since the animals may be subject to stress when they see the model bird and the physiological impacts of stress have been shown to have detrimental effects on the immune system so that there is the potential for the animal to suffer lasting harm. It is possible to design the experiments in such a way to reduce the stress to a level where there is no potential for lasting harm but this requires considerable experitise and consultation with the Home Office.

A detailed explanantion of how the University controls work involving protected aniamls to ensure compliance with the letter and spirit of the legislation can be found here EthicalReviewProcess

It is important to note that whilst ASPA is only law where UK juristriction applies, the University applies equally strict rules where work with protected animals takes place abroad. These rules can ve found here Regulations for Animal Work Abroad new v3 1108

All persons intending to work with any animal afforded protection under ASPA (all vertebrates and cephalopods) must gain prior ethical approval in writing prior to any work commencing. Failure to do so could result in individual or institutional prosecution if the work breaches ASPA. No results obtained from working on protected animals prior to gaining ethical approval may be included in any work submitted to the University in fulfillment for any degree.

You can make an application for ethical approval by completing and submitting the appropriate form below:

You should allow 4 weeks for your application to be processed. If the work requires the granting of a Home Office licence then you should allow at least 4 months.

Work involving human participants

A key part of any work involving human participants is the ethical review process. All work involving human participants must be screened under the COESE procedures and go through review as appropriate.  No results obtained from human participants prior to gaining ethical approval may be included in any work submitted to the University in fulfillment for any degree.

Part of ethical review involves ensuring that relevant legislation such as the Human Tissue Act (HTA) and General data Protection Regulation are complied with.

If studies involve the collection of human tissue (defined in the relevant legislation as essentially anything containing human cells so saliva, blood, urine and fecal samples are included) then the HTA may apply and guidance should be sought from John Latchford (

The General Data Protected Regulation applies to any personal data (ie any data which relates to an identifiable person). Researchers must not collect data about identifiable individuals except when justified and necessary and where the requirements of GDPR can be met. As such we encourage data collection which is anonymous (does not collect information on identifiable individuals). More details on the difference between anonymous and confidential data as relevant to the collection of data about human participants is provided here.

You can make an application for ethical approval by completing and submitting the appropriate form below:

You should allow 4 weeks for your application to be processed as the process often requires some back-and-forth. Better quality submissions can often be processed faster. If you require rapid review for a justified reason (e.g. to do with a narrow opportunity for the research), please contact your school ethics representative.