School of Life Sciences

Ethics and Research Governance

The University of Sussex is committed to promoting and upholding the highest quality academic and ethical standards in all its activities. A university-wide Research Governance Committee Framework  ensures that ethical review procedures:

  • reflect best practice with regard to ethical considerations in research
  • meet legislative, regulatory and funder requirements
  • safeguard the reputation of the University

Under the framework, ethical governance of research undertaken in the School of Life Sciences is overseen by the Sciences & Technology Cross-Schools Research Ethics Committee (SCITEC C-REC).

Direct responsibility for ethical review of research lies in part with the C-REC and in part with the School - as outlined below. Ethical review within Schools and by C-REC is overseen by the central University Research Governance Committee (URGC), which is responsible for broader policy decisions relating to research governance and ethics. The URGC also regularly reviews policies relating to the ethics of research to ensure that they are comprehensive, accessible, relevant and up to date.

SCITEC C-REC (C-REC) Procedure

All staff and students whose projects require some form of ethical review (this will include all projects that involve human participants) must apply for and receive some form of ethical approval before their research may commence. Research which does not involve humans - or personal information about them is not likely to require ethical review. To understand if ethical review is likely to be required, researchers should work through the ethics self-assessment checklist

Research and procedures involving animals are reviewed by the University’s Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body (AWERB).

Faculty ethical review applications ONLY

Applications for ethical review to the SCITEC C-REC are made on through the online Ethical Review System on Sussex Direct.

Once a proposal has been approved applicants will receive a Certificate of Approval. Applicants are required to adhere to the terms of approval as stated in the certificate.

Student Project applications ONLY

If you are a Supervisor, when a student applies for ethical review on the online system, you will receive an email alert when an application is ready for you to authorise. You will be able to enter your decision online via Sussex Direct and the Student will automatically receive an email alerting them to your decision. If you have given authorisation, the SREO or C-REC will automatically be alerted to review. (Please note: Students will still be expected to confer with their Supervisor outside of the online system).

Dr John Armstrong is the Life Sciences School Research Ethics Officer. When a student applies for ethical review on the new online system, he will receive an email alert when an application is ready to review on Sussex Direct (after the student’s Supervisor has authorised the application). Dr Armstrong will be able to enter his decision online, and the Student will automatically receive an email alerting them of the decision. Details of applications approved by the School Research Ethics Officer will be reported to the C-REC on an annual basis.

CREC Reviewers

If you are a C-REC reviewer, you will be alerted by the C-REC administrator in the normal way when an application is ready for review.

More information is provided on the Research Governance website

This site includes links to the online research ethics application system, a user guide, FAQs and other guidance documents.

If you have any questions, please contact the University Research Governance Officer, at