Doctoral School

What do you do?

There are many staff in professional services across campus working to support doctoral researchers in one way or another. In this regular item we will be highlighting a staff member and service supporting the doctoral community, providing some information about their role, and how they can help you.

Profile picture - Isla Morris - Research Governance Officer
Name: Isla-Kate Morris
Role: University of Sussex Research Governance Officer
Department/Division: Research & Enterprise

What do you do?

I work in the Research & Enterprise division, and have responsibilty for developing policy and guidance in research governance, ethics and integrity. My work involves ensuring that research activity at Sussex complies with all necessary legislative and regulatory research governance requirements. I manage the University’s ethical review system, provide training in research governance, ethics and integrity, and can be contacted for advice on obtaining ethical approval at University, national and international levels.

What support do you offer to doctoral researchers?

I regularly run school-level Ethics Surgeries and am available to provide additional ad-hoc training and advice sessions for Schools and groups of doctoral researchers on request.

I also deliver two highly recommended workshops as part of the Researcher Development Programme organised by the Doctoral School: Getting Ethical Approval and Exploring Ethical Issues in your Research.

Doctoral researchers are  welcome to get in touch to arrange a  one to one consultation. You might be seeking general research governance guidance, or more specific advice and support around issues of ethics and integrity.

How can doctoral researchers get in touch?

The best way to get in touch is by telephone or e-mail. You can find my contact details on the Research Governance Webpages  or via my Sussex profile.

What’s the most common question you are asked by doctoral researchers?

I am often asked whether ethical approval is needed for a particular piece of research, and my advice is always to use the self-assessment checklist.  

If you answer yes or maybe to any of the questions it’s highly likely you’ll need to get ethical approval before you can start your research. If you are in any doubt about whether or not you need ethical approval for your research, get in touch or approach your supervisor for advice. Understanding research ethics and responsible research conduct is part of your training as an doctoral researcher, and my role is to guide and support you in carrying out your research well.

Are there any useful online resources doctoral researchers need to know about?

There are lots of useful online resources available to doctoral researchers around research governance, ethics and integrity, and a great place to start is the University’s Research Governance  and Research Standards webpages. Some Schools have also written their own webpages on ethics which provide some really useful discipline-specific guidance.

I would also recommend checking out the websites of your funders and any professional bodies associated with your research area for guidance and to make sure you are conducting your research in line with their ethical expectations. If you’re not sure where to start, the Research Governance webpages have a handy list of web links for expert advice - definitely one to bookmark!

If you would like to book a place to attend one of Isla’s Researcher Development workshops, visit the Researcher Development webpages.

Doctoral School