Research Integrity and Ethics

We are committed to undertaking academic research that has an impact on the real world around us. Our Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Simon Green, provides the strategic direction and leadership for all our research. Supported by the Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research Integrity, Professor James Wolffsohn, and Aston University Research Integrity Office (AURIO), as well as our esteemed research and ethics committees.

Aston’s Research Strategy

 The strategy sets out our ambitious plans to grow and develop our research base. Aston has developed a strong reputation for working closely with industry, the professions, and other stakeholders and for the strong focus on providing solutions to real problems of industry, and addressing societal challenges with high impact research. Since our creation in 1895, we have been an integral part of our region and its employers, advancing knowledge in a relevant and meaningful manner. To find out more please see our research strategy page.

Research Integrity

We are committed to the highest standards of research Integrity. Aston University has signed up to the concordat to support research integrity, and committed to comply and integrate its core elements: honesty, rigour, transparency and open communication, and care and respect in all aspects of research.  

We have developed policies to underpin and support the commitments outlined in the concordat; the Research Integrity Code of Conduct, a Code of Practice for Dealing with Allegations of Research Misconduct (Research Integrity Assurance Procedures), and Speak up policy

The codes and the concordat apply to all fields of research and recognise the different responsibilities of researchers, the University as their employer, and other bodies involved in the research process in each of its commitments.

 As part of our commitment, we publish an annual Research Integrity statement:

Annual Research Integrity Statement 2018

Aston University Research Integrity Office (AURIO)

AURIO is the central point of contact for all enquiries about Research Ethics, Research Governance, and Research Integrity at Aston University.

AURIO provides support to members of the University conducting research with human participants, for those who may need external approval, including sponsorship for research requiring NHS ethics and/or HRA approvals, and for those with studies that require ethical review by the University Research Ethics Committee.

AURIO also provide advice, resources, and opportunities to ensure that research is carried out to the highest ethical standards and in line with regulations and guidelines.

For any queries, please contact research_governance@aston.ac.uk 

Research Ethics and Governance

Ethics and Governance are at the heart of our management of research at Aston. Our University Ethics Framework serves to embed our ethical values and principles into all our activities. We also have a dedicated resource for all Research Ethics Regulations and Procedures.

University Research Ethics committee (UREC)

UREC reviews research proposals from staff and students involving human participants and/or their data, as well as external researchers proposing to carry out research at the University. All research involving humans, their data and/or tissue need an ethical assessment before starting. Details on how to do so can be found here: Research Ethics Regulations and Procedures.

AURIO provide secretariat support for UREC, for any queries, please contact research_governance@aston.ac.uk

Human Tissue Act Oversight Group

Aston University is licensed by the Human Tissue Authority for “storage of relevant human material for a scheduled purpose" under the Human Tissue Act (2004), subject to compliance with its strictly regulated code of practice.

HTA regulates the removal, storage, use and disposal of human bodies, organs and tissue for a number of Scheduled Purposes (such as research, transplantation, and education and training) set out in the Human Tissue Act.

Under the Act the Designated Individual (DI) under the licensed is responsible for licensed activities and supervising compliance with the licensing arrangements:

License Number:                            12381
License Holder:                              Aston University
Licensed Premises:                        Aston University
Designated Individual (DI):            Professor James Wolffsohn
Aston University’s HTA policies and SOPS (internal only): Human Tissue Act Compliance

AURIO provide the secretariat support for HTA Oversight Group, for any queries please contact research_governance@aston.ac.uk

Research with the NHS

Research projects involving NHS patients and/or staff and or their data may require review by an NHS Research Ethics Committee (REC) and/or HRA approval. Please consult the Health Research Authority (HRA) website for more information.

UREC recognises a favourable ethical opinion (FEO) from the NHS. If your study requires sponsorship from Aston University under the UK Framework for Health and Social Care Research, please contact AURIO on research_governance@aston.ac.uk.

Research with the HMPPS

All researchers wanting to conduct research with staff and/or offenders in prison establishments, National Probation Service (NPS)/Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC) regions or within Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) Headquarters are required to formally apply for research approval to the HMPPS National Research Committee (NRC).

All student applications below doctoral level need to be supported by an MOJ/HMPPS business lead in order to be considered. This business support needs to come from a senior member of staff, working in MOJ/HMPPS Headquarters who is willing to state that they believe the research is going to be of benefit to MOJ/HMPPS and will have minimal resource demands. For more information, please click here.

These kind of studies will require sponsorship from Aston University under the UK Framework for Health and Social Care Research, please contact AURIO on research_governance@aston.ac.uk.

MODREC Research Ethics review

The Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee (MODREC) ensures that all research involving human participants either undertaken, funded or sponsored by MOD meets nationally and internationally accepted ethical standards. UREC recognises a favourable ethical opinion (FEO) or approval from the MODREC.

These kind of studies will require sponsorship from Aston University under the UK Framework for Health and Social Care Research, please contact AURIO on research_governance@aston.ac.uk.

Animals in Science

Aston University is one of the signatories for the CONCORDAT ON OPENNESS ON ANIMAL RESEARCH IN THE UK. The Concordat on Openness is a set of commitments for UK-based life science organisations to enhance their animal research communications.

Aston University endorses the ARRIVE guidelines for use of animals in medical research. The ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) guidelines were developed as part of a National Centre for the replacement, refinement and reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) initiative to improve the design, analysis and reporting of research using animals – maximising information published and minimising unnecessary studies. Information about the ARRIVE guidelines can be accessed here.

The University’s ethical review process involves the Bioethics Committee and involves lay representatives, external and internal members. It provides ethical advice on the standards of animal care, welfare and accommodation. The Committee ensures that those working with animals are aware of their responsibilities and receive appropriate training. Veterinary and animal care staff are actively involved in the ethical review process, offering ongoing advice and support to researchers where necessary. More information can be accessed here.

Research Integrity and Governance Training

For any enquiries in relation to Research Integrity, Governance, Ethics training at Aston University, please contact Aston University Research Integrity Office (AURIO) to discuss your requirements on: research_governance@aston.ac.uk