Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Ethics committee

The Ethics Committee will consider research proposals on a continuous basis by correspondence and will attempt to deal with all protocols expeditiously, but students and trainees submitting proposals are advised that it may take approximately 4 weeks until response, following notification that their application has been sent out to the Ethics Committee for review.

How to apply

Please read through the 'Tips for completing an application for an ethics review' section in the Research Ethics leaflet complete the following Checklist (fast track application form). 

Submission checklist

If your study requires a favourable ethical opinion, click on the link below for the full Application Form, and other documents you will need to include in your submission.

Your submission must contain ALL of the relevant documents listed below. Please send your proposal electronically as one attachment to Julie Earl (j.earl@surrey.ac.uk) for review by the FHMS Ethics Committee. 

Documents Required

  • Ethics Application Form (must be completed and signed for all submissions - one hard copy to Julie Earl)
  • Project Summary (included in the application form)
  • Detailed Protocol (must be included with main proposal)
  • Participant Information Sheet (must be on University headed paper)
  • Participant Consent Form (must be on University headed paper)
  • Risk Assessment
  • Insurance proforma (refer to the Insurance Guideline regarding which proforma you need to complete)
  • Zurich Insurance Certificate
  • Posters and/or questionnaires (if appropriate) (please note that you must only put up posters on the University’s dedicated poster boards. Where applicable, please ensure you obtain permission from the appropriate authority’)

If your research project requires a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) certificate, a current original copy should be shown to Julie Earl, (16DK03) for verification.

Please note:

  • All correspondence from the university will be sent to your university email address. Please check this regularly for any updates.
  • All data collected must be stored securely up to 10 years electronically at the University of Surrey but physical or paper records for certain lengthy documents e.g. questionnaires, food diaries etc. are acceptable. Please make sure this is highlighted within your detailed protocol.

What proposals do we review?

The FHMS Ethics Committee will consider applications for ethical approval from Undergraduates, Postgraduate/taught students and Practitioner Doctorate Trainees for any research projects proposing to use human participants.

Staff and Postgraduate/research students (PhD) should refer to the University Ethics Committee’s webpages.  Any other enquiries concerning ethical review at the University should be directed to the Research Integrity and Governance Office in the first instance.

Any experiment or procedure which falls within one or more of the following categories will be reviewed by the Faculty Ethics Committees:-

  • Procedures involving any risk to a participant's health (for example intrusive or invasive physiological or psychological procedures);
  • Surveys and questionnaires, the nature of which might be offensive, distressing or deeply personal for the particular target group even if individuals are not identifiable. This may include questions on sensitive data, i.e. ethnicity, political views, religion, physical or mental health/condition, sexual life/orientation and alleged offences. Please check the Data Protection Act (1998) legislation 
  • Proposals wishing to study children under the age of 16 or adults who may feel under pressure to take part due to their connection with the researcher. Please note that you may need DBS clearance for working with anyone under 18 years of age even though those 16 and over are usually considered capable of consenting for themselves.
  • Research involving prisoners and young offenders.
  • Proposals which involve financial payments or payments in kind to participants above reimbursement for out of pocket expenses, provision of refreshments or entry into a low-value prize draw or where the compensation could amount to more than the minimum hourly wage, or £100 in total (whichever is higher), or proposals which otherwise offer incentives which may unduly influence participants’ decision to participate.
  • Proposals wishing to use undergraduate students as participants;
  • Proposals which investigate existing working or professional practices at the researcher's own place of work.
  • Research where the safety or well-being of the researcher may be in question.
  • Research which involves deception other than withholding information about the aims of the research until the debriefing.

NHS Review and Sponsorship

All projects that, for example, but not limited to, studies that involve NHS patients, staff or facilities characterised by a specific disease or disorder, or their carers, adults lacking capacity to consent for themselves, investigational medicinal products/devices and ionising radiation will require NHS REC and/or HRA approval and MUST be submitted to an NHS Research Ethics Committee for ethical review and favourable ethical opinion. For queries on studies involving the NHS contact RIGO.

N.B. Once a proposal has been granted a favourable ethical opinion by an NHS Research Ethics Committee, a copy of the letter from that committee must be submitted to the Faculty Ethics Committee before the research commences. However the proposal does not need to be submitted again to the Faculty Ethics Committee, for further review and evidence of the above must be included with your dissertation.

Internet research

If you are considering using the Internet in your research, please be aware that it appears to offer unrestricted access to infinite amounts and types of data. However, the ethical issues surrounding the use of data and data collection methods must be adhered to. If you wish to take advantage of the Internet’s flexibility, as part of your research project, please be aware of the applications of ethical codes for conducting research on human participants on the Internet. The benefits, privacy and confidentiality, informed consent, deception and avoiding harm for your participants must be a priority at all times.

More guidance and information can be found on the website of the Association of Internet Researchers (AOIR), or on the BPS website.

Terms of Reference

  • To consider general issues arising within the Faculty which involve considerations of an ethical nature.
  • To implement guidelines, check adherence to, and compliance with these guidelines including procedures, in relation to ethical issues which may arise from research activities within the Faculty.
  • To be available for consultation and advice on such ethical issues and best practice by individual members of staff, students or trainees of the Faculty.
  • To consider, respond to and when appropriate, grant a favourable ethical opinion for specific research protocols submitted to the Ethics Committee by students and trainees of the Faculty
  • To monitor accordance of research activities with current best practice and Committee stipulations
  • To report on the process and procedures of the Committee and make recommendations to the University of Surrey Ethics Committee on key matters of policy and strategy.

Where to submit

  • Submissions for the FHMS Ethics Committee should be forwarded to:  Julie Earl j.earl@surrey.ac.uk
  • Submissions for the University Ethics Committee should be forwarded to:  ethics@surrey.ac.uk

Ethics Committee People

FHMS Ethics Committee Co-Chairs

Name Role Phone Email Room
Professor Bertram Opitz Professor in Neuroimaging and Cognitive Neuroscience
01483 68 9449 28 AC 04
Professor Annette Sterr (Interim Co-Chair) Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology 01483 68 2883  02 AC 04

FHMS Ethics Committee

Name Role Phone Email Room
Dr Constanza Gomez Alvarez Head of the Veterinary Biomechanics Laboratory 01483 68 9399 01 VSM 02
Dr Oliver Mason  Reader in Clinical Psychology 01483 68 6860  38 AD 02
Dr Benita Middleton Senior Research Fellow 01483 68 9712 17 AD 02 
Dr Jonathan Nelson Lecturer Psychology 01483 68 3697 17 AD 02
Dr Bob Patton Lecturer in Clinical Psychology & Lead for the Drugs, Alcohol & Addictive Behaviours Research Group 01483 68 6861  17 AD 02
Dr Jenny Ritchie Lecturer in Microbial Pathogenesis 01483 68 6484 DK 05
Ms Alison Smith
Field Lead in Mental Health Nursing, Teaching Fellow in Integrated Care (Mental Health) 01483 68 3697 18 AY 02
Professor Annette Sterr Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology 01483 68 2883 02 AC 04
Dr Emma Williams Lecturer in Developmental Psychology 01483 68 6909 26 AD 02

FHMS Ethics Committee Administrator

Name Role Phone Email Room
Mrs Julie Earl Ethics Administrator 01483 68 9175 16 DK 03