Do I need to apply for ethical approval for my research proposal?
If your work raises ethical issues or risks, then you need to apply.
Being ‘ethical’ means acting in accordance with a set of core values and principles, in particular integrity, compliance with the law, respect for human rights and avoiding unnecessary risk to people’s safety and well-being. Imperial College London seeks to ensure that any potential ethical risks arising from research are limited strictly in proportion to the importance of the intended benefits.
A researcher must therefore consider the ethical implications of any work that:
- has the potential to damage the mental or physical health of human participants, (e.g. volunteers, College staff and students, or patients,) or others who may be affected
- has the potential to jeopardise the safety and liberty of people affected by the research (e.g. volunteers working in sensitive situations abroad)
- has the potential to compromise the privacy of individuals whose data is involved in the work
- otherwise involves methods (e.g. genetic research) or subject matter (e.g. recreational and controlled drugs) that are sensitive and therefore need to be managed consistently with the College's high public reputation
- carries a risk of an actual or perceived conflict of interest on the part of researchers and/or the College