Current Students and Staff

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Changes to the University’s institutional ethics process

Over the next year, changes will be made to the institutional ethics review process to streamline the way in which applications for ethical review are made.

It is important that staff understand their responsibilities following these changes to protect the integrity of the ethical review process.  

From October, colleagues will now be able to progress checklist (low risk) projects in a streamlined fashion. Further changes will be implemented later in the year which will reduce the number of interactions between applicants and the Ethics Review Sub-committee when making checklist plus (medium risk) and enhanced (high risk) applications. By following these changes, the ethics application process should be quicker.  

To support these changes, a short online training module will soon be made available for all RTE staff and any staff undertaking the supervision of student projects.  

Currently, the supervisors of undergraduate and postgraduate student projects requiring ethics review through LEON (Loughborough Ethics Online System) are asked to sign the application before submission. Another colleague will then check these applications, and in the case of checklist plus or enhanced applications, they are then reviewed by the Secretary of the Ethics Review Sub-Committee or the Ethics Review Sub-Committee meeting, respectively. 

From 1 October, if an undergraduate or postgraduate project involves human participants and is submitted as a checklist application, the supervisor will be able to provide a favourable review allowing the project to proceed without further approval. Therefore, it is critical that you understand the methods used by the Ethics Review Sub-Committee to distinguish the issues raised by the application’s activity, which can differ from your perception of risk. The short online training module will help with this, and you will be notified when it is available.  

There are some exceptions where checklist submissions will continue to be reviewed by a colleague. These are: 

  1. Where the undergraduate or postgraduate project is part of a larger piece of work eg a Doctoral Researcher project or a funded project. 

  1. Where a joint application is made, led by the academic. 

  1. Where, from the outset, you know that you may wish to externally publish the data collected. 

To maintain the integrity of our ethics process, regular audits of checklist submissions signed by supervisors will be undertaken. If any project during this procedure is considered to be a medium or high-risk process, this will be reported to the Dean and data collection may have to be ceased.  

If you need help with the new process, please contact the designated ethics contact in your School. If you have any additional queries or comments, please contact Ruth Casey at