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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, 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.

The application process

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 Administrator, to discuss your study before submitting an application:

For general enquires, application paperwork, 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

Submitting an application

The Committee receives a high volume of applications from both faculty and students and it is therefore 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 2016 Meeting Date  Committee Decision
 (5pm) 8 February 2017  1 March 2017

 10 working days following the meeting

 (5pm) 19 April 2017  10 May 2017  10 working days following the meeting

BSMS Research Governance and Ethics Committee Sub-Panel

Submission Deadline 2017 Meeting Date  Committee Decision 

 4 January 2017

 25 January 2017 (NOW FULL)  10 working days following the meeting
 1 February 2017  22 February 2017 (NOW FULL)  10 working days following the meeting
 5 April 2017  26 April 2017 (NOW FULL)  10 working days following the meeting
 31 May 2017  21 June 2017  10 working days following the meeting
 28 June 2017  19 July 2017  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

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, Research Administrator, 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 Division 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 >