IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Ethics applications: IOE staff

Information for applications reviewed by the IOE Research Ethics Committee (REC).

Staff ethics guidance

All research activities which collect or use data from human participants including secondary data analysis, systematic reviews and pilot studies, are required to gain ethical approval before data collection begins regardless of whether your research is funded or self-funded.

Ethics review applications

1. Please complete your staff ethics application form for review by the IOE Research Ethics Committee.


2. Then submit using this MS Form:

Submit ethics application

Expedited review

Expedited review (full ethics review that is conducted quickly and at short notice) may be granted in exceptional circumstances. Our definition draws on UKRI, ESRC and UCL material on what can be considered for expedited review. The PI must firstly gain permission for an expedited review by making it clear in an email to the IOE Research Ethics Office at ioe.researchethics@ucl.ac.uk on how they meet the following:

  • access to a sample that is time-related
  • a short lead time due to the circumstances of a particular funding framework


  • fieldwork is linked to a particular event or period

And these have been caused by external drivers which are outside the control of the researcher.

Please note expedited reviews will not be offered for:

  • circumstances that are foreseeable or preventable 
  • claims that the applicant was unaware of the ethics application submission process and/or associated review timelines 

This request for permission will normally be reviewed by the IOE REC Chair, and the response given within 1-2 working days. If permission is not granted, then the usual standard review timeframe will be followed.

We understand that applicants and reviewers are working within competing work commitments. Please note that expedited reviews are reserved for the above situations to limit undue pressure on applicants, reviewers and the IOE REC office.

Ethics application processing timeframe:

  • Expedited review – 15 working days
  • Standard review – 30 working days

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Projects previously approved by external institutions

For those seeking IOE approval or recording for a project that received ethical approval elsewhere, please complete sections 1, 9 and 10 of the ethics form. Please, send the completed form, all documents supplied to the external research institution, and the copy of the approval letter issued by the external research ethics committee to ioe.researchethics@ucl.ac.uk

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Amendments to approved projects

For those who are seeking amendments to projects previously approved by the IOE Research Ethics Committee, there will be a triage system according to the criteria (to establish whether it needs to be reviewed by the Chair of the Committee or whether it requires a full ethics review, in which case a new application may need to be submitted). Please contact ioe.researchethics@ucl.ac.uk with details of the nature of the amendments required, quoting the title of the original project, the year of approval and where possible, the REC reference number recorded on the original approval letter.

Please note the processing time for such requests is the same as the ethics application review timeframes.

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Escalation to UCL Research Ethics Committee

There are particular circumstances when the IOE Research Ethics Office would deem a research ethics application high risk and needs to be sent to the UCL Research Ethics Committee for review. We would notify the PI and indicate the process to be followed. IOE researchers should not send any research ethics applications to the UCL Research Ethics Committee themselves.

In accordance with UCL Research Ethics Guidance, IOE research is considered high risk when a research ethics application concerns:

  • NHS patients and/or staff or HM Prison and Probation Services staff and/or inmates
  • Security-sensitive topic matters such as military, security, intelligence, needing Security clearance, terrorist or extremist groups, dark web
  • Locations of study within a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Amber or Red zone
  • Deception, involving actively misinforming participants what their participation entails or the true purpose of the research
  • Covert methods, including actively hiding data collection from participant(s), where the participant(s) would otherwise have a reasonable expectation of privacy (applies both in person and online)
  • Participants engage in breaking the law
  • Drugs, placebos or other substances to be administered to the participants
  • Financial incentives are given to take risks (other than to reimburse travel expenses or giving reasonable value vouchers to thank participation)

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Research misconduct procedure

In the event a complaint or allegation of misconduct regarding an IOE research project is submitted to the Chair of the IOE Research Ethics Committee (REC), this will be investigated at local level in the first instance, in line with UCL's Procedure for investigating and resolving allegations of misconduct in academic research (please see section A6 of the procedure). 
IOE procedures for investigating and resolving research misconduct allegations will be as below:

  1. The Principal Investigator (PI) will be contacted to inform them of the allegation. They will be asked for more information and asked to cease data collection temporarily while the investigation is pending.
  2. The IOE REC will advise the PI on the outcome of the investigation and, if required, will make recommendations on appropriate action as follows:
  • In less serious cases, IOE research guidance will be reinforced and/or training will be provided to project investigators. 
  • In more serious instances of misconduct, the case will be escalated to the Registrar, as per the above UCL procedure. 

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