Staff and Postgraduate Research Students

The College Research Ethics Committee considers staff and postgraduate research (PhD/EdD) student applications.

Applications should be submitted at least 6 weeks in advance of the intended start date for data collection to allow for review and any changes required.

Application forms and notes on how to complete them are available below, please consult the Information for Applicants section of this website for specific guidance on ethics issues.

Retrospective approval cannot be given and any data collected without ethical approval cannot be used. It is important that you allow enough time for your application.

The completed Staff and PGR Ethics Application Form, along with any other required documents (Participant Information Sheet, Consent Form, Interview Questions etc.) should be uploaded to the Research Ethics System at https://frontdoor.spa.gla.ac.uk/login/

When resubmitting an application, changes made to the application form and supporting documents should be highlighted or put into red coloured text to assist reviewers in confirming those changes. Remember to remove the highlighting before issuing any documents to your participants!

Ethics Forms and Guidance Notes: Staff and PGR

Important Note: in all cases applications will be returned if Ethical Risks section is not completed and/or signatures not provided both there and at end of application form.  You should refer to the Online System Guides in the section below for assistance in uploading your application.

Word Documents 

Application Form and Notes

Staff and PGR Ethics Application Form

Staff and PGR Application Form with Notes

Risk Guidance and Risk Assessment Form

Risk Guidance Document staff and PGR

Graduate School PGR Risk Assessment Form

Sample Participant Information Sheet and Notes

Sample Participant Information Sheet (staff & PGR)

Sample Plain Language Statement child (Staff_PGR)

Participant Information Sheet with Notes (staff & PGR)

Sample Consent Form and Notes

Sample Consent Form (staff & PGR)

Consent Form with Notes

Easy Read Forms

easy read Plain Language Statement

easy read Consent Form

Amendments Form

Request for Amendments to Approved Application

PDF Documents

Staff and PGR Application Form with Notes

Participant Information Sheet with Notes (Staff_PGR)

Consent Form with Notes


Responsibility: Staff and PGR

It is the student’s responsibility to submit applications timeously and in the proper format. Once you have received your ethical approval document, you are required to keep this. You will be asked to include it with your dissertation, not in the form of an Appendix, but loose inside the front cover so that it can be checked and then removed to ensure anonymity for the marking phase.

 It is the Supervisor’s responsibility to:

  • Communicate the importance of ethics in research to students
  • Support the development of a full and sensible application, with focus on risk and risk minimization
  • Guide students in keeping to the approved project, dealing properly with any amendments
  • Inculcate an attitude of respect for ethical principles in research

 It is the Staff researcher’s responsibility to:

Ensure that applications are made as timeously as possible, taking into account the requirements of the ethical review process.  You should also ensure that you retain your ethical approval document for your own records as this may be required by funders or research supervisory bodies.


Supervisor Notes: PGR

When making an application, supervisors should ensure that the following points are considered:

  • How the welfare of participants and researchers will be ensured and that no harm is done either to them, or to the reputation of the University of Glasgow, funders and/or partners.
  • How confidentiality will be ensured and if appropriate, anonymity.
  • How can voluntary participation be ensured?
  • Making sure consent is informed and documented (usually in writing).
  • How long will the data be retained for and how will it be stored securely.
  • Is it appropriate to destroy the data and if so, when.
  • If the research is international, does it comply with ethical guidelines in the country they are working in as well as with University of Glasgow guidelines?

Most postgraduate research students are applying for ethical approval for their thesis research.  If you are a supervisor of research students, your involvement and participation in the ethical approval process is very important. 

If your student is conducting data collection away from Glasgow, they are required to complete a risk assessment form, which is available from the Graduate School Information for PGR Students and Supervisors (Forms). This should form part of the research preparation.

As supervisor you should discuss research ethics with the student as relevant to their particular study and help them to fill in the application form.

You may find it helpful to refer to the College Ethics Reviewer Notes for more detail on what the reviewers will be looking for in the application.

Application Process: Postgraduate Research Students

Once a student has created their application online in the online Research Ethics System, it should be forwarded to their named supervisor, who can now complete their consideration of the application.

As supervisor you must:

  1. Complete the statement on ethical risks and confirm that you are submitting the application for review by signing and dating this section. 
  2. Complete the end section confirming the acceptance of code of practice by signing and dating this section. 
  3. Once satisfied with the application, submit it for review to the College Research Ethics Committee through the online Research Ethics System.

(The application will be returned if steps 1 and 2 are not completed or if the application does not include the appropriate supporting documentation (e.g. Participant Information Sheet (also known as Plain Language Statement), Consent Form, Interview Questions etc.)

In the system there are two stages of review:  

1.   Administrative review: this is intended to check:

  • That the application form is fully completed, including the supervisor requirements.
  • That the dates allow sufficient time for application processing.
  • That all supporting documents are uploaded.
  • That the supporting documents provide the required information and that there is a good standard of presentation in documents to be given to potential participants.

The administrator may return the application to request amendments to fulfil these requirements. Once these details have been approved; the administrator forwards the application for full academic (ethical) review.

2.   Ethical review: two reviewers are assigned to each application:  A Committee Reviewer and a Lead Reviewer. 

  1. The Committee reviewer has two weeks to review and upload their comments.  The application is then passed to the
  2. Lead Reviewer who has a further one week to collate both their comments and complete the final review and outcome.

Please note that in certain circumstances, this process may take longer, such as if further guidance is sought from the University Ethics Committee, or other advisor in relation to specific issues within the application.


Late Submissions: Staff and PGR

Applications that are submitted less than six weeks before the data collection is due to begin may not be considered within the requested turnaround period, save in exceptional circumstances, such as applicant illness, or funder requirements.  Delay in starting research will not normally be accepted as an exceptional circumstance for expediting the processing of the application. 


Online System Guides for PGR Students

There are specific guides to the steps in the online process provided here; they are also available in the Help section of the online Research Ethics System.

You should create your application using the forms and guidance available on the ethics website. Once you have uploaded your application, your supervisor is required to check, approve, sign and forward the application for review.

If your application is returned at any stage, guidance notes are provided here to assist in the resubmission process. December 2016: note updates to guides on resubmission of applications following requested changes by administrator or ethics committee

How_To_Create_A_Student_Ethics_Application

 How_to_Re-submit_a_Student_Application_Returned_by_Supervisor

How_To_Re-submit_A_Student_Application_Returned_by_Administrator

How_To_Re-submit_A_Student_Application_Returned_by_Committee

How to Delete a Student Draft Application


Online System Guides for Supervisors

There are specific guides to the steps in the online process provided here; they are also available in the Help section of the online Research Ethics System.

The student should create their application using the forms and guidance available on the ethics website. Once they have uploaded their application, you are required to check, approve, sign and forward the application for review.

If the application is returned at any stage, guidance notes are provided here to assist in the resubmission process. December 2016: note updates to guides on resubmission of applications following requested changes by administrator or ethics committee

How_To_Supervise_A_Draft_Student_Ethics_Application

How to Supervise a Student Application Returned by Administrator

How to Supervise Student Application Returned by Committee

How_To_Supervise_Deletion_of_ a_Student_Ethics_Application

How_To_Supervise_Withdrawing_A_Student_Ethics_Application


Online System Guides for Staff

There are specific guides to the steps in the online process provided here; they are also available in the Help section of the online Research Ethics System.

The application should be prepared using the forms and guidance notes available on the ethics website. Staff applications are sent directly to the ethics administrator for initial review.

If your application is returned at any stage, guidance notes are provided here to assist in the resubmission process. 

How_to_Create_A_Staff_Ethics_Application

How to Delete a Staff Draft Application

How_To_Re-submit_A_Staff_Application_Returned_by_Administrator

How_To_Re-submit_A_Staff_Application_Returned_by_Committee

How to Withdraw a Submitted Staff Application


How the Research Ethics Committee decides

Staff and Postgraduate Research Student reviews are conducted electronically by two members of the Research Ethics Committee, one of whom leads the process.  Researchers may request the opportunity to address the reviewers by submitting written queries/information to be forwarded to the reviewers by the administrator.  Members of the Committee must withdraw from consideration of any submission in which they are researchers or supervisors.

The Committee may:

  • Authorise the research to proceed without requiring any amendment. Any such authorisation is granted on the basis of the project as stated on the research submission. Any changes must be notified to the Committee (see Amendments) and normally approval obtained before proceeding.
  • Require clarification or modification of parts of the research submission.  The amendments will generally be returned to the original reviewers for confirmation.
  • Defer consideration of a proposal if substantial modifications are required or where significant additional information is required until that information is supplied and reviewed.
  • Reject the research proposal in whole or in part.
  • Revoke approval of the research if dissatisfied with the conduct of the research or the researchers.
  • Refer University students or staff through the University's disciplinary procedures if issues of concern arise from the research.

As part of their assistance to researchers, the Research Ethics Committee will ordinarily give reasons for requiring modification to proposals, rejecting them or for revoking approval.

The Research Ethics Committee may call for reports on the conduct of the research during projects and on completion to help the Research Ethics Committee in formulating its guidance and so that the Committee can be assured that projects continue to conform to approved ethical standards.  This will not in any way reduce the responsibility of the researcher to ensure such conformity.

Full details of the online system application process can be seen here: Online Research Ethics System: Approval Process (pdf)


Appeals: Staff and PGR Students

If you are dissatisfied with the decision made by the College Research Ethics Committee, you should in the first instance discuss this with the Convenor/Ethics Officer.  If discussion is unable to resolve the issue, an appeal may be made to the University Ethics Committee. However the University Committee will not normally interfere with a decision to require revisions to the project, such as to amend an information sheet or consent form. The University Ethics Committee is concerned with the general principles of natural justice, reasonableness and fairness of the decision made by the College or School Committees.

The University Ethics Committee will provide general advice to the College Research Ethics Committee and will refer the matter back to them with that advice for them to make a decision.


Amendments to Approved Application: Staff and PGR

If you find you need to make changes to your research project after you have received ethical approval you must notify the College Research Ethics Committee of this and ensure that the changes are also approved.

You may wish to amend things such as:

  • the study design,
  • addition of new participant group,
  • procedures undertaken by participants,
  • key/senior supervisory staff,
  • timescale during which the data collection will take place or extension of overall approval period.

A Request for Amendments to Approved Ethics Application form is available to download from the Ethics Forms section above. This should be emailed to the general ethics email inbox: socsci-ethics@glasgow.ac.uk  The form should be submitted with any accompanying amended documentation, such as a Participant Information Sheet/Consent Form etc.

If your original application pre-dated 21st September 2015, you may be asked to consider further use of your data in line with University recommendations. Please see the section in Information for Applicants: Data Sharing for Staff and Postgraduate Research Students. If you do decide to store and/or potentially share your data, this requires an adjustment to your Participant Information Sheet and Consent Form, please see the templates in the Ethics Forms section above.

Please also note that amendments involving an extended timeline may be subject to additional scrutiny and at the discretion of the College Research Ethics Committee you may be required to submit a new application.

Where possible the amendments will be forwarded to the original reviewers for consideration. Please note that the reviewers may request some clarification before confirming acceptance of the changes proposed.

This process can take up to 10 working days.

Only once confirmation of approval is received can the project utilise these amended provisions. Failure to obtain this approval means that you are not in receipt of ethical approval, which could have serious consequences.