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Research Policy and Support

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Central Research Ethics Advisory Group (REAG)

Please be aware that there may be delays to the review process while reviewers are working from home during this third national lockdown. We apologise for any inconvenience and the deviation from our published standards.

We are seeking to increase the reviewer pool and would be very happy to hear from research-active members of Kent academic staff, with a working knowledge of the principles of research ethics and their application to research, who would be interested in taking on the role. We will provide training.


The Central REAG accepts applications from staff and students at Schools that do not have a local REAG:

  • Kent School of Architecture
  • School of Arts
  • School of Biosciences
  • School of Computing
  • School of Economics
  • School of Engineering
  • School of English
  • School of European Culture and Languages
  • School of History
  • Centre for Journalism
  • School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science
  • Centre for Music and Audio Technology
  • School of Physical Sciences

As well as applications that require a greater level of independence such as, for example:

  • Multi-centre studies
  • ESRC-funded research
  • Research carried out by professional services staff.

The Central REAG is also registered as the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) for research funded by United States federal sources falling under Federalwide Assurance.

Terms of reference

Research Ethics Review

All research, staff or student, funded or unfunded, that involves human participants, their tissues or data, or non-human subjects, or any other material ethical issues, must undergo ethics review before initiation. This includes studies such as questionnaires and online research where the researcher may not have direct contact with participants; and also studies involving combination of anonymous data where there is a possibility that individuals could be identified by combination of the data with another dataset or other information that is already in the public domain. Appropriate ethical approval must be in place before any contact with participants, their tissues or data, begins. Research not involving human participants, but that raises other ethical issues, must also undergo ethics review before it starts. This could include research involving cultural objects or that has potential environmental implications for example.

Application process

The first stage is completion of a research ethics checklist. The checklist asks questions about the type of project to be undertaken and will identify, by a ‘yes’ response to any of the questions, those projects that require further, full review. This may be by the Central REAG, or an external research ethics committee, such as an NHS REC, dependent on the nature of the research and its participants:


The checklist must be countersigned by the relevant School ethics representative and supervisor for student projects.

If all answers on the checklist are ‘No’:

The completed checklist with all required signatures must be submitted to centralresearchethics@kent.ac.uk along with:
• Research proposal
• Relevant supporting documentation (where necessary)

If any questions in section IV(A) are answered ‘Yes’:

You may need approval from an external body. Contact the Research Ethics & Governance Manager (N.R.Palmer@kent.ac.uk) for advice and assistance with this process.

Once ethical approval is granted by the external body, a copy must be sent to the Central REAG.

If any questions in section IV(B), IV(C) or IV(D) are answered ‘Yes’:

You will need to complete the full application form and send it to the Central REAG for review along with, where appropriate:
• Research proposal
• Participant information sheet(s)
• Consent form(s)
• Introduction/invitation letter(s)
• Any questionnaires/interview schedules/topic guides to be used
• Any approved instruments/measures to be used
• Any advertising material to be used to recruit participants
• Confirmation that project is covered by UoK insurance policies (if necessary)


Review process

The Central REAG aims to consider all applications and provide an initial outcome within 10 working days.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their application is submitted in good time.

Flowchart admin

Review Template Document For Reviewers
General Data Protection Regulation and Research Ethics Review


How to write a research proposal
Participant information sheet guidance
Consent form guidance
General Data Protection Regulation – Guidance for researchers
GDPR Privacy Notice – Research
Privacy Impact Assessment template
Research involving school children
Human Tissue Act – factsheet for researchers
Ethics oversight for new members of staff importing existing research projects
Research involving participants who may lack capacity to consent
The Mental Capacity Act – Fact Sheet for Social Scientists
Association of Internet Researchers – internet research ethical guidance
British Psychological Society – Ethics Guidelines for Internet-Mediated Research