The research governance agenda has become more prominent during recent years and universities have found themselves under further scrutiny regarding their research governance and ethics policies, procedures and frameworks. New legislation, such as the EC Clinical Directive and the Human Tissue Act, has provoked universities to examine and, where necessary, improve and update their procedures and policies. In addition, many of the main research funders now require assurances at both application and award stage that projects have, where necessary, been approved by an institution’s ethics committee and that the research will be conducted within a research governance framework embedded within the institution.
For the past few months the University Research Ethics Committee, have been developing a number of key documents to support an ethical framework within the University and these policies were recently approved by the Council at its meeting on the 19th July 2005 for implementation in the academic year 2005 -2006. This new framework, whilst necessary to meet funders’ requirements and new legislation, will assist the University in ensuring it maintains its place amongst top ranked research-led Universities as it will go to the heart of ensuring integrity and research quality at the University in all areas of research.
Research Support Services, with the aid of new internal governance processes, will be supporting the implementation of the ethical framework and should be contacted if colleagues have any concerns relating to research governance or ethics. I am sure that you will join with me in continuing to demonstrate and promote a professional and ethical research environment for all our staff, students and for those who collaborate with the University.