Update on the UCL Research Ethics Committee – request for additional ethics reviewers
11 August 2020
The UCL Research Ethics Committee is looking to recruit staff as volunteer ethics reviewers – find out more about the role and register your interest.
The UCL Research Ethics Community (REC) is led by Chairs Professor Lynn Ang (Institute of Education) and Professor Michael Heinrich (School of Pharmacy), and supported by the UCL Research Integrity and Ethics Team comprising Helen Dougal, Cat Collins, Lola Alaska, Magdalena Morowska and Rowena Lamb as Head of Research Integrity.
The Statement on Research Integrity sets out the principles by which we ensure that research at UCL maintains the highest standards of integrity in all aspects of research in line with UCL’s principles: honesty, rigour, transparency, care and respect, and personal responsibility. Research ethics plays a central role by upholding and supporting the ethical standards that promote the values of transparency, accountability, mutual respect, and fairness. These high standards are essential for ensuring the highest quality of research and maintaining the continued trust and confidence of the wider research community and the public.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on UCL’s research community, both in terms of the disruption caused by lockdown and in the incredible response of researchers keen to contribute to the national effort of understanding and responding to the pandemic. To support the response, the REC advertised a ‘call for staff volunteers’ and we would like to express our thanks to the following staff who volunteered; their contributions have been invaluable during this extremely busy time.
Natalia Lago, Francesca Schiavone, Judith Meek, Zeynep Gurtin, Allen Abramson, Colette Smith, Jenevieve Mannell, Dean Willis, Serife Dervish, Claire Westwood, Steve Rolling and Michael Strang.
We would like to hear from more staff who are interested in becoming volunteer ethics reviewers – full training is provided.
To register your interest, contact Rowena Lamb, Head of Research Integrity or visit the REC website.
What does the Research Ethics Committee do?
The Research Ethics Committee reviews over 700 low and high-risk applications every year, working closely with students and researchers. They ensure that all applications meet the highest standards of academic rigour, transparency and ethics, and safeguard and empower participants. This is an essential part of the research planning process, particularly as ethical approval cannot be granted retrospectively. It is therefore imperative that researchers consider the ethical implications of their work as early as possible in, and as an integral part of, the research planning process.
Testimonials from Volunteer Reviewers
"Becoming involved with the REC as a new reviewer during lockdown has been a great experience. It has made me feel connected to researchers across UCL, and has helped me feel – in a small way – like I am contributing to the immense efforts of the team to ensure that timely and critical research can flourish at UCL, even under such challenging circumstances".
“My experience of reviewing is that UCL researchers at all levels are now embracing the ethics of research as a critical element of project-design…. approaching ethics as an integral part of knowledge-production rather than as an extraneous (bureaucratic) constraint".