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, Brighton and Sussex Medical School (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 hospital or elsewhere.
In support of this commitment, BSMS has introduced a comprehensive ethical scrutiny and governance process, which also includes a review of research proposals where BSMS staff or students are being asked to participate.
Before research projects can commence researchers are required to obtain ethical approval either from the BSMS Research Governance and Ethics Committee (RGEC) or from the National Research Ethics Service (NRES), if the project involves NHS Trust patients, their tissue and/or data, premises, or staff. Further information about the NRES application process can be found on the NRES 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 consider all aspects of governance and ethics related to research involving human participants, and are responsible for ensuring the integrity and quality of all approved research proposals.