NCUB Research Ethics Policy

NCUB Research Ethics Policy

This policy applies to all research carried out at the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB).

NCUB is committed to maintaining high ethical standards in the research carried out at the Centre and in all member sponsored activities. The NCUB recognises its obligation to ensure that research undertaken under its auspices is conducted to appropriate standards, and conforms to conventional ethical principles.

The Research Ethics Policy serves to guide the conduct of staff undertaking NCUB research in support of the organisation’s mission to strengthen the strategic partnership between universities and business, with a view to driving economic growth and recovery.

This document incorporates the minimum requirements as prescribed in the Economics and Social Research Council (ESRC) Research Ethics Framework.

Legal and data requirements
  • Research carried by NCUB must comply with legislative requirements and with the requirements of data providers, including the UK Data Protection Act 1998.
  • It is the responsibility of NCUB to ensure that the research data held or handled by staff are securely stored, curated and preserved.
  • NCUB respect the confidentiality of information supplied by research subjects and the anonymity of respondents.
  • NCUB take responsibility for all publications and presentations of which our staff are author or co-author.
  • NCUB adequately document sources of data and we are committed to not misrepresenting the data we handle in publications or presentations.
  • NCUB appropriately acknowledge, in publications and presentations, those who have contributed to our research.
Research Resources
  • We use research funds only for their designated purposes.
  • We accurately account for time and effort related to research funding.
  • We acknowledge sponsorship of research in our publications and presentations.
Human Research

Where research is identified as involving human participants and/or personal data and/or sensitive personal data.

All researchers are required to complete the Research Ethics Review Checklist, this will determine whether a full review, a light touch review or no intervention at all is required.

Review process

The NCUB Research Ethics Policy is designed to identify potential ethical concerns that may not be apparent in research proposals. Under circumstances stated below, a light touch review will be deemed as sufficient.

However, this policy contemplates the possibility that a fuller review should be required and in this case the NCUB will seek the necessary expertise in a relevant partner institution.

Light touch review identifies those projects where the potential for risk of harm to participants and others affected by the proposed research is deemed as minimal (see below).

Light touch reviews are handled by the NCUB Research Director who, on a case by case basis, should also designate one or more independent members of staff to assist with the judging the ethics risk.

In many cases this is the only ethics review necessary, and a record of approval will be issued with the ethics review checklist.

Where the NCUB Research Director and designated independent assessor deem the research to involve more than the minimal risk, it is for the Research Director to identify an independent research ethics committee (REC) in a partner organization with the relevant expertise and proceed with a full ethics review under the terms of the selected REC.

The following research has the potential for involving more than minimal risk and require a full ethics review:
  • research involving vulnerable groups
  • research involving sensitive topics
  • research involving groups where permission of a gatekeeper is normally required for initial access to members
  • research involving deception or which is conducted without participants’ full and informed consent at the time the study is carried out
  • research involving access to records of confidential information; it is appreciated that over a period of time the confidentiality of certain material may diminish; if a member of staff has any concerns regarding this then guidance can be sought from the Research Ethics Committee;
  • research which would induce unacceptable psychological stress, anxiety or humiliation or cause more than minimal pain;
  • research involving intrusive interventions
  • where a real or perceived conflict of interest may arise which could compromise the integrity and/or independence of the research due to the nature of the funding body.

Download the NCUB Ethics Review Checklist (.doc)

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