Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) upholds and promotes high standards of research ethics at all points of the research cycle, from inception to dissemination, and complies with the UK Concordat to Support Research Integrity. BGU’s Research Ethics Policy reflects this compliance, and outlines several commitments to upholding integrity.

All research conducted within, in collaboration with and involving colleagues and/or students of BGU is underpinned by the Research Ethics Policy. Approval for individual research projects can be sought by applying for Ethical Approval, using the Research Ethics Clearance Form.

If you require support with designing your project or completing the form, please consider discussing your project requirements with at least one of the following key contacts:

For students: Your supervisor OR module leader (please consult your module specific guidance).

For staff: Your specific subject ethics representative; or one of your subject-based Research Ethics Committee representatives (a full list of contacts can be found on this page)

You may also wish to discuss your project with colleagues within your Research and Knowledge Exchange Unit, if applicable.

More sensitive projects, all research postgraduate and staff projects Masters, research postgraduate and staff applications are reviewed at an institutional (i.e. university) level. Applications should be submitted to the University’s Research Office, and then sent out for peer review by two independent colleagues with training in research ethics and with relevant research expertise. Reviewers may request that conditional amendments be applied before ethical approval can be granted. In all cases, approval is confirmed by the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee, or their representative (in cases of conflict of interest). In these cases please complete the clearance form and email to the Research Centre (ellie.foster@bishopg.ac.uk AND Jessica.alvey@bishopg.ac.uk) to initiate this process.

Undergraduate, PGCE and Masters research projects are reviewed and approved at the local (subject) level. Students will need to complete and submit the clearance form as per module guidance.

Please note that projects are deemed sensitive if issues are outlined within sections 3.1 or 3.2 within the Clearance Form.

We encourage BGU staff and students to consult the Research Ethics course on BlackBoard, where all current information and relevant supporting documentation is located.

Key institutional documents can also be found on this page.

Research Ethics Clearance Form

Template consent form

Template Participant Information Sheet

Key contacts

Chair of the Research Ethics Committee: Dr. Caroline Horton caroline.horton@bishopg.ac.uk

Research and Knowledge Exchange Centre Administrative assistants: Jessica Alvey (jessica.alvey@bishopg.ac.uk) and Ellie Foster (ellie.foster@bishopg.ac.uk).

Head of Research: Dr. Andrew Jackson (Andrew.jackson@bishopg.ac.uk)

Chair of Education ethics sub-committee: Prof. Chris Atkin (chris.atkin@bishopg.ac.uk).

A list of the current Research Ethics Committee members and additional subject representatives can be found at the bottom of this page.

Enquiries

Enquiries about the application process for research ethics can be made via the following channels:

Administrative: Jess Alvey (Jessica.alvey@bishopg.ac.uk) or Ellie Foster (ellie.foster@bishopg.ac.uk).

Please note that queries concerning specific research projects can be directed to the Principal Investigator in the first instance, and that independent queries can be raised via the named independent contact point outlined in the Participant Information Sheet.

Furthermore, concerns regarding misconduct, complaints, training requests or broader queries regarding integrity and ethics to the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee: Dr. Caroline Horton (caroline.horton@bishopg.ac.uk).

Independent concerns can be raised to the Head of Research, Dr. Andrew Jackson (Andrew.jackson@bishopg.ac.uk), via BGU’s complaints process for students or for staff via the whistleblowing policy.

We welcome feedback and would like to promote discussion of any issues concerning research integrity.

Research Integrity statement

Research Integrity Annual Statement Sept 2019 – August 2020

Bishop Grosseteste University complies with the Concordat to Support Research Integrity (2019) and strives to achieve the highest standards of research integrity.

In accordance with the UK Concordat for Research Integrity’s Commitment #5, BGU reports on activity in 2019-20.

1. Summary of actions and activities that have been undertaken to support and strengthen understanding and the application of research integrity issues (for example postgraduate and researcher training, or process reviews)

Over 2019-20 a number of research ethics reviews and amendments have been implemented, in order to ensure that processes and documentation best fit requirements.

BGU’s Research Ethics Policy was reviewed over 2018-19, and revised in July 2019, principally to reflect updated processes of data security with regards to GDPR. Since that time the updated policy has been shared widely with staff and students via regular workshop and seminar opportunities over the past year, with the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee delivering bespoke sessions for students as well as staff, where required.

In the same period, staff and students were consulted on the efficacy of the research ethics review processes, at both local (for undergraduate and PGCE projects) and institutional (for staff, postgraduate and additionally sensitive projects) levels. Feedback was clear that the policy and processes are fit for purpose, and that support with the processes is suitable. Specifically, feedback indicated that the ethics application and review process is largely positive and supportive, that some minor updates are required to improve and refine the application documentation, including template consent forms and information sheets, and that greater support surrounding processes would be beneficial for students in particular.

In order to address this feedback, the Research Ethics Committee, led by Dr. Caroline Horton, developed a revised Research Ethics Clearance Form and piloted it across representative courses and staff groups across the University. Feedback on this pilot was collated and the revised Clearance Form finalised, for implementation in September 2020 for all students and staff.

Specifically, the application documents have been amended so to:

  • Create one comprehensive clearance form for all staff and students
  • Ensure that GDPR and enhanced data management plans are in place where relevant
  • Ensure that all projects can be documented, even if a full ethics review is not required
  • Allow the option for reviewers to provide methodological feedback, as well as a core ethical review, should applicants request it, in order to support the integrity of individual projects, especially for developing researchers
  • Ensure that all core issues of ethics and integrity are considered
  • Provide outline approval for projects, to support research bids, where relevant.

Furthermore the revised Research Ethics Clearance Form is being introduced alongside a range of training materials and events. Staff training has been offered at several points across the past academic year and training has also been offered to BGU’s partner institutions. As of September 2020 all colleagues involved in reviewing ethics applications are required to attend a staff training session (sessions being offered across September) and all other colleagues are asked to attend a Staff Development event introducing the essentials of research ethics and integrity, offered in both September 2020 and January 2021.

Most notably, an extensive Research Ethics BlackBoard course has been developed over the past academic year and is being launched in September 2020, available for all staff and students. The course site features key institutional documents and information about the review process, as well as numerous external support sites and documents, with a particular focus on supporting and enhancing internet-mediated research, in the face of the recent and ongoing COVID19 pandemic. The site further comprises training videos, FAQs and links to key contacts.

These changes to the Research Ethics Clearance Form, and engagement with new support materials, will be monitored and reviewed over 2020-21, and beyond, to ensure the highest level of research integrity is achieved at BGU.

BGU continues to offer support and mentorship to researchers at all stages of their careers, providing opportunities to meet with the Chair of the Research Ethics committee and/or subject representatives to discuss project specific queries as required.

2. Statement to provide assurance that the processes the institution has in place for dealing with allegations of misconduct are transparent, timely, robust and fair, and that they continue to be appropriate to the needs of the organisation

BGU has accessible policies on misconduct for both staff and students, which outlines how allegations of such misconduct can be raised and are subsequently handled. The Code of Practice for Academic Misconduct is subjected to regular review to ensure that they are fit for purpose. Research misconduct is addressed explicitly within the Research Ethics Policy. Furthermore, concerns regarding misconduct, complaints, training requests or broader queries regarding integrity and ethics are directed to the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee: Dr. Caroline Horton (caroline.horton@bishopg.ac.uk).

Independent concerns can be raised to the Head of Research, Dr. Andrew Jackson (Andrew.jackson@bishopg.ac.uk), via BGU’s complaints process for students or for staff via the whistleblowing policy.

The Participant Information Sheet template has been amended to ensure that participants in research projects can be directed to an independent contact point, should that be required.

3. High-level statement on any formal investigations of research misconduct that have been undertaken, which will include data on the number of investigations. If no formal investigation has been undertaken, this should also be noted

    In 2019-20, as previously, there were no formal incidents of research misconduct or complaints of process raised or investigated at Bishop Grosseteste University. These can be listed as:

    Fabrication 0, falsification 0, plagiarism 0, misrepresentation 0, breach of duty of care 0, improper dealing with allegations of misconduct 0, other 0.

    However, one breach of policy was raised and handled informally, before the research project was published into the public domain. In this case, a researcher had written for publication a paper containing data that had received ethical approval at a local level, when full institutional approval was required. A co-author raised concerns and the publication was withdrawn from the review process whilst details could be ascertained. Unfortunately, the project was suspended, and the colleague involved was supported with additional ethics training.

    4. Statement on what the institution has learned from any formal investigations of research misconduct that have been undertaken, including what lessons have been learned to prevent the same type of incident re-occurring

      Whilst no formal investigations of misconduct were conducted, the informal case was discussed with senior colleagues, the colleague and line manager affected, and considered in detail at a meeting of the Research Ethics Committee. All agreed that access to training materials, the Research Ethics Policy and other supporting documentation were readily accessible and that, in this instance, the colleague in question made an independent decision to seek publication quickly over proper consideration of ethical issues. The colleague has been referred for relevant training and is being mentored. As such all involved felt that, whilst improvements continue to be implemented in terms of availability of training and support for issues of research ethics and integrity, no further actions are needed.

      5. Statement on how the institution creates and embeds a research environment in which all staff, researchers and students feel comfortable to report instances of misconduct

        Policies are in place and are accessible for both staff, via the Whistleblowing Policy and associated procedures, and for students via the Complaints Procedure, to raise any issues of research integrity or concern.

        In addition are in the process of formally recruiting for an Integrity Officer. In the meantime, issues pertaining to research integrity continue to be supported and managed by the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee, Dr. Caroline Horton, in the first instance, in consultation with the Head of Research, Dr. Andrew Jackson, as required.

        Template consent forms and participant information sheets have been updated and made available to all staff and students. Within the latter, we recommend including the contact details for an independent contact, specific to the project. For instance, for an undergraduate project this might refer to the module leader. For a staff project this might refer to the Integrity Officer or, in cases of a conflict of interest, the Head of Research.

        Members of the Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee were polled informally at a meeting in April 2020 as to whether BGU has robust governance for identifying and deterring bad behaviour amongst researchers and effective procedures to help researchers raise concerns safely. With this in mind, we are planning to consult staff and students on their views of whistleblowing and associated procedures over 2020-21, to identify whether our processes are transparent, accessible and sufficiently robust. We also wish to seek feedback on possible processes for raising informal issues of research integrity in a solutions-focused and positive manner, rather than awaiting potential complaints to be raised. The results from this consultation will be reported in the 2020-21 annual statement.

        Statement of activity in previous years:

        2018-19: there were no breaches of policy, complaints or concerns over research ethics and integrity. A copy of the Research Integrity Annual Statement Sept 2018-Aug 2019 can be found here

        2017-18: there were no breaches of policy, complaints or concerns over research ethics and integrity. A copy of the Research Integrity Annual Statement Sept 2017-Aug 2018 can be found here

        2016-17: there were no breaches of policy, complaints or concerns over research ethics and integrity

        2015-16: there were no breaches of policy, complaints or concerns over research ethics and integrity.

        2014-15: there were no breaches of policy, complaints or concerns over research ethics and integrity.

        2013-14: there were no breaches of policy, complaints or concerns over research ethics and integrity.

        2012-13: there were no breaches of policy, complaints or concerns over research ethics and integrity.

        2011-12: there were no breaches of policy, complaints or concerns over research ethics and integrity.

        Research Ethics Committee membership and representatives


        Invited:

        • Executive Dean for RKE: Prof. Scott Fleming
        • Additional RKE Unit representatives, where specific agenda items require it.

        Subject level Research Ethics Representatives

        Subject representatives are the first point of contact for queries concerning research ethics and integrity within taught programmes (undergraduate and Masters level).

        English: Dr. Claudia Capancioni (Claudia.capancioni@bishopg.ac.uk)

        History: Dr. Claire Hubbard-Hall (claire.hubbard-hall@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Archaeology: Dr. Duncan Wright (Duncan.wright@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Geography: Dr. Sarah Hemstock (sarah.hemstock@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Sociology: Dr. Freddie Attenborough (Frederick.attenborough@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Drama: Dr. Viv Kerridge (viv.kerridge@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Business and Enterprise: Becky Goodman (rebecca.goodman@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Theology: Dr. Jack Cunningham (jpc@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Psychology: Dr. Alyson Blanchard (Alyson.blanchard@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Education Studies: Dr. Adam Hounslow-Eyre (adam.hounslow-eyre@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Counselling: Helen Swaby (helen.swaby@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Special Educational Needs and Inclusion: Dr. Tracy Jeffery (tracy.jeffery@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Early Childhood Studies: Dr. Ali Riley (Alison.riley@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Professional Studies: Dr. Sacha Mason (sacha.mason@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Health and Social Care: Nicki Walsh (Nichola.walsh@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Maths: Dr. Elizabeth Kimber (Elizabeth.kimber@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Sport: Rafe Elliott (rafe.elliott@bishopg.ac.uk)

        BAPE (BA Primary Education with QTS): Becky Geeson (Rebecca.geeson@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Primary PGCE: Sue Lambert (sue.lambert@bishopg.ac.uk)

        Secondary PGCE: Jenny Wynn (Jenny.wynn@bishopg.ac.uk)

        MA ED p/t: Prof. Chris Atkin (chris.atkin@bishopg.ac.uk)

        MA ED with TESOL; : Abigail Parrish (abigail.parrish@bishopg.ac.uk)

        BA TESOL & Linguistics: Smaragda Kampouri (smaragda.kampouri@bishopg.ac.uk)