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Ethical approval for public engagement

As discussed in our What is public engagement toolkit there are many forms of public engagement. The majority of those will not require you to have further ethical approval as you are transmitting information relating to existing research projects. However if you intend to collect data as part of a public engagement event then you may need to consider ethical approval.

If your activity involves:

  • the NHS or social care
  • human participants in research, their data or tissues

Then please contact your relevant ethics panel to discuss if your activity is covered by your existing ethical approval, or if you need to re-submit.

We strongly suggest where possible planning your public engagement from the start of a project and considering it as part of your ethics application so as to avoid the need to resubmit a seperate application later on.

Examples of where public engagement may need ethical review:
  • If you wanted to collect DNA samples from participants at an event to teach them about DNA, but also wanted to store that data for future use
  • If you wanted to use a public engagement event as a pilot focus group to collect data from partipants