Safeguarding for Research Projects
Safeguarding is the action taken to promote the welfare of children under the age of 18 and vulnerable adults and protect them from harm. Within research projects this may include staff, students and collaborators, as well as anyone directly affected by our research and teaching activities on campus, and at research and fieldwork sites in the UK or overseas e.g. research subjects, patients, etc.
As part of project delivery and risk assessment planning, the research team should consider Imperial’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Code of Practice which outline both duty of care responsibilities and guidelines for those carrying out activities involving children and vulnerable adults.
In addition, the College has a number of existing policies and procedures to support researchers in the identification and mitigation of Safeguarding concerns:
As part of the project’s Safeguarding responsibilities, Imperial’s Research Integrity guidance will help you to assess the suitability of both the research environment and any formal or informal relationships with anyone involved in the project. Policy advice includes:
Working Overseas and Due Diligence
When planning projects overseas, the project leader should consider Imperial’s moral and legal duty of care within the context of local customs, laws and expectations. The Working Overseas – Guidance for Managers provides advice and support in undertaking the following Safeguarding-related assessments:
- On-site health and safety arrangements
- Support of academic freedom in the country or region of operation
- Awareness of cultural differences and expectations
- Local immigration and employment requirements
- Knowledge of local law
- Understanding of travel restrictions, sanctions and embargos in the region
- Awareness of local taxation, pensions and insurance implications associated with the project
- Locating local healthcare support
- Purchasing regulations
- Potential data protection issues
- Determining exit strategies and evacuation procedure in the event of emergency
Further advice is available from the Due Diligence Toolkit developed for the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) but applicable to any overseas working scenario. This Toolkit provides guidance on assessing and managing financial, reputational, political, geographical and socio-economic risks when working overseas.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:
Imperial College London is fully committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion across its research sites and the following Safeguarding-related policies should be reflected in any project-plan:
- Respect for Others
- Harassment, Bullying and Victimisation
- Disability support
- Health and Wellbeing (including mental health)
- Codes of conduct for online interactions
- Imperial Expectations
Misconduct and Grievance Procedures:
If things go wrong, anyone working on the project should be able to raise concerns with impunity through the established escalation routes outlined below:
- Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy and Code of Practice - provides guidance on how to respond to suspicions/allegations of child abuse (Annex A) and harm to vulnerable adults (Annex E) and the appropriate Safeguarding Officer for referral (Annex H)
- Whistleblowing policy as part of College Ordinance 18 on reporting malpractice
- Grievance Procedure
- Research misconduct guidance as part of College Ordinance 17
As part of the contracting process, Principal Investigators are accountable for disseminating these policies to research partners and participants, ensuring their practical implementation, and monitoring research activities as part of their grant management and reporting responsibilities.
For specific questions on Safeguarding in a research context, please contact Louise Lindsay, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Change.