Research ethics

Ethical issues must be considered as part of all staff and student research projects at Staffordshire University. Our Ethical Review Policy sets the standards and is used for the ethics approvals process.

Ethical Review Policy and forms

Staffordshire University Ethical Review Policy (PDF file, 284KB)

If you are a current researcher at Staffordshire University or are conducting research under the auspices of the university, you may need to complete disclaimers or perform an ethical review as part of your research.

All completed forms from staff and postgraduate researchers (individuals enrolled on PhD, MPhil and Professional Doctorate) should be sent to For undergraduate and taught postgraduate degrees, you should send your ethical review form to your module leader.

Please note, you should only complete and submit one of the types of approval form listed below for a research project. If you feel the level of approval has changed at any point in the process (for example, you might have applied for full ethics but then feel NHS ethics is now needed), please contact your school ethics coordinator at to withdraw the lower level application (in this case, the full ethics application).

Having a full ethics application and an Independent Peer Review (IPR) application under review for the same research project at the same time might considerably delay approval of your application.

Disclaimer form

These forms can used where it is not necessary to apply for ethical approval for a research project.

Disclaimer form for undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses (DOCX file 86KB)

Disclaimer form for staff and postgraduate research projects

Proportionate review form

This form can be used where the research raises minimal ethical risk. The research must:

  • focus on minimally sensitive topics
  • entail minimal intrusion or disruption to others
  • involve participants who would not be considered vulnerable in the context of the research

Proportionate review form (DOCX file, 51KB)

Full ethical review form

This form must be used for research involving above minimal risk and necessitating a more thorough ethical review prior to approval.

Full ethical review form (DOCX file, 63KB)

NHS ethics

If your study involves NHS patients, staff or premises, and is deemed 'Research' by the NHS, then you will need to complete a two stage process.

The first stage of this process is a University Independent Peer Review (IPR) application, which requires the completion of two forms for University approval:

To gain approval, both forms should be sent to

Following University IPR approval, the second stage of the process is submitting your application to the NHS: this will require the submission of the IRAS form on its own via their online system.

GDPR statement

The following statement should be added to all information sheets circulated to research participants, except where a collaborating organisation specifies a different form of words:

Your data will be processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR).

The data controller for this project will be Staffordshire University. The university will process your personal data for the purpose of the research outlined above. The legal basis for processing your personal data for research purposes under the GDPR is a ‘task in the public interest’. You can provide your consent for the use of your personal data in this study by completing the consent form that has been provided to you.

You have the right to access information held about you. Your right of access can be exercised in accordance with the GDPR. You also have other rights including rights of correction, erasure, objection, and data portability. Questions, comments and requests about your personal data can also be sent to the Staffordshire University Data Protection Officer. If you wish to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office, please visit

Further information 

Further information and resources for staff and students on ethics applications can be found on Blackboard.

After logging-on select ‘Institution Page’. You’ll find University Research Ethics under ‘Staff Open Courses/Students Open Courses’. Follow the link to access to this additional resource.

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

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The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

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Research Excellence Framework 2021

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