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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Governance and ethics

BSMS > Research > Support and governance > Governance and ethics

Governance and ethics

In 2010, the University of Sussex established a revised research governance structure designed to ensure that all university-sponsored research is conducted in line with best ethical practice, to ensure all legislative, regulatory and funding requirements are met, and to safeguard the reputation of the university.

A further goal of the revised structure is to ensure consistency in standards and practice across the university in relation to research governance and ethics. For further guidance, please see Sussex's information on research governance.

As part of this governance framework, BSMS is committed to ensuring that the dignity, rights and well-being of research participants are taken into consideration in the conduct of all research projects being undertaken within the school, or carried out by BSMS staff or students in the our partner hospital trusts or elsewhere.

Before research projects can commence researchers are required to obtain ethical and governance approval. The BSMS Research Governance and Ethics Committee (RGEC) is responsible for reviewing studies involving healthy volunteers, while projects involving NHS patients, their tissue and/or data, or NHS staff must be submitted to the Health Research Authority (HRA) for review. Detailed guidance about applying to the HRA can be found on the HRA website.

If human tissue is to be collected, processed and/or stored, 'Working with human tissue' offers guidance on how to proceed.

Any application received by the BSMS Research Governance and Ethics Committee will be reviewed in detail by a panel of qualified experts (relevant to the project) and, where necessary, external colleagues with specialist expertise. The committee considers all aspects of governance and ethics related to research involving healthy volunteer participants, and is responsible for ensuring the integrity and quality of all approved research proposals.

Preparing an application

If you are a BSMS researcher or working with human subjects elsewhere in our partner universities – and if you think your research would be best assessed by the Research Governance and Ethics Committee – please contact Caroline Brooks, BSMS Research Governance Officer, to discuss your study before submitting an application:

For general enquires, information on meeting dates and submission deadlines – as well as to book a slot for the review of your project at a meeting – please contact the RGEC on

Applying online

An online application form for research projects seeking ethical and governance approval via the BSMS Research Governance and Ethics Committee (RGEC) was launched on 11 May 2017 and is accessible via Sussex Direct here.

The online system is now the sole method of applying to the committee. Applicants will need to log in to Sussex Direct then select the Research tab followed by Ethical Reviews. A comprehensive User Guide is included with the online form (and below) to assist applicants. Please see Frequently Asked Questions which offers answers to common queries. Further advice and support is also available from Caroline Brooks, BSMS Research Governance Officer.

Download user guide >

Download FAQs document >


All requests for amendments to committee-approved projects (excluding clinical studies with university sponsorship) are now submitted via the online system. This includes minor and substantial amendments as well as amendments to studies approved prior to the introduction of the online application form. The User Guide offers clear guidance on this process.

Booking a review slot for your application

A review slot at a scheduled committee meeting must still be booked in for applications for ethical and governance review submitted via the online system.

The committee receives a high volume of applications from faculty and students and it is essential to book your application in for review before a meeting submission date.

Please contact RGEC at to book a slot for the review of your application at a meeting.

Your application to RGEC should be timed well in advance of the proposed start date of your project. Committee meetings are held on a quarterly basis and project proposals should be submitted by the deadline date (please see tables below).

BSMS Research Governance and Ethics Committee  

 Submission deadline 2017 meeting date  Committee decision
 (5pm) 16 August 2017  6 September 2017

 10 working days following the meeting

 (5pm) 13 October 2017  3 November 2017

 10 working days following the meeting

 (5pm) 14 February 2018  7 March 2018

 10 working days following the meeting

 (5pm) 11 April 2018  2 May 2018

 10 working days following the meeting

BSMS Research Governance and Ethics Committee Sub-Panel

Submission deadline 2017 meeting date  Committee decision 
 31 May 2017  21 June 2017  10 working days following the meeting
 28 June 2017  19 July 2017 (NOW FULL)  10 working days following the meeting

 August (RGEC Summer recess)

 10 working days following the meeting
 30 August 2017  20 September 2017  10 working days following the meeting
 27 September 2017  18 October 2017

 10 working days following the meeting

Additional documents to be uploaded online

External requests for access to BSMS students for research purposes

If you are a researcher from an external institution enquiring about involving our medical students in a research project, please contact Caroline Brooks, BSMS Research Governance Officer, on

Make sure you provide a set of the study documentation for review, including study protocol, consent forms, participant information sheets and any questionnaires or materials used in the study.

Evidence of ethical approval obtained from your institution is essential and should be included with your submitted documents. The request will then be assessed by senior academic staff in the BSMS Department of Medical Education to ensure there is no conflict between the study and existing BSMS research and timetabling as well as undue burden to the student cohort to be recruited. Full review by the BSMS Research Governance Ethics Committee may be required.

Applicants will be informed of the review outcome by email. Please allow at least two weeks for an initial decision to be returned and be aware there may be instances in which further information will be required before approval can be granted. Conditions may also be stipulated as part of the approval.

University sponsorship

If you are a member of staff or a student who is undertaking research involving patients or the administration of a controlled substance to healthy volunteers, a sponsor will be required.

Read more about university sponsorship >