Joint Research Management Office

Performing research menu

Conducting research with human participants (outside the NHS)

Non-NHS Research

If you are a Queen Mary academic or student looking to conduct research that involves human participants, then you will still require research ethics approval, even if they are not recruited via the NHS. For this, you should apply for Queen Mary ethical approval. 

QM Ethics of Research Committee 

The Queen Mary Ethics of Research Committee exists to provide oversight of any ethical issues arising in connection with research and to ensure that appropriate systems are in place so that research at Queen Mary is always conducted with full awareness of ethical issues, and necessary precautions and actions are taken to preserve high ethical standards.

Please see the Queen Mary Policies on Research Integrity and Research with Human Participants. Where relevant, researchers should also check out legal requirements or other guidance which could affect their specific research.

Why should I seek ethical approval?

Any research which involves human participants (including human data or human tissue) may give rise to ethical risks and researchers must manage these risks effectively. To ensure that high ethical standards are maintained in the research carried out by Queen Mary, there are ethical policies and procedures which must be followed. Many Research Councils, other funding bodies, and partner organisations require evidence of ethical approval before they can consider an application or before they will issue the grant or approval.

If research is undertaken without appropriate ethical approval it puts at risk not only the research participants, but the researchers themselves, other QMUL staff, and the good standing of the College. Even if research takes place abroad and/or is not funded by Queen Mary, researchers who are members of the staff or students of Queen Mary are required to seek ethical approval, where needed, from the College.

Who should apply?

Even if you think your study does not require ethical approval, please check through the information on this site to ensure that it does not. College policy on research conduct states that failure to secure ethical approval where appropriate is misconduct and therefore can be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

How to apply

Standard applications

Complete this form and send a signed copy to the Administrator of the QM ERC:

Contact details below:

Hazel Covill
Room W104
Queens' Building
Queen Mary
University of London
Mile End Road
London E1 4NS
Tel: 020 7882 7915 (not Fridays)

In addition, researchers carrying out fieldwork are also required to complete the QMUL Risk Assessment [DOC 97KB] and forward it with their application.

If you have any queries or require details on submission deadlines, please contact Hazel Covill.

Expedited (fast-track) Review

Some proposed research may fall into the category of extremely low risk, such as interviews with adult professionals about non-contentious subjects. Researchers in these cases are welcome to use the online system of fast-track approval. Applications can be made at any time - with feedback received within fifteen working days.

To apply go to 

(Sign-in is required as this system can be only be used by QMUL staff and students)

N.B. Should any problem be experienced with the system, researchers may fill in the application manually and send it directly, via email or post, to Ms Covill (details above).

Please use the Fast Track Application Form.

Human Performance Laboratory

Researchers wishing to obtain ethical approval for any studies in the Human Performance Laboratory should contact Dr Dylan Morrissey:

NHS Ethical Approval 

NHS ethical approval is required for any research proposal whether or not the PI (Principal Investigator) is based in the School of Medicine and Dentistry involving:

  • Participants recruited due to them being patients and service users of the NHS whether past or present (including recently deceased). It includes NHS patients treated under contracts with private sector institutions
  • Individuals identified who are relatives or carers of patients or service users of the NHS
  • Access to data from NHS Patients
  • Human tissue as defined by the Human Tissue Act

Examples of where Health and Social Science and Science and Engineering researchers may require NHS Health Research Authority (HRA) approval (including NHS REC) are:

  • Projects involving interviewing NHS Staff, patients and carers
  • Projects testing a new medical device
  • Projects analysing data from NHS sources
  • Research that requires NHS ethical approval must be submitted to the HRA and NHS REC via IRAS

Please note that due to recent changes in government guidelines, the following research may be viewed by the Queen Mary Research Ethics Committee, but researchers are advised to seek advice from Hazel Covill before submitting an application:

  • The use of NHS premises or facilities
  • NHS Staff – recruited as research participants by virtue of their professional role
Return to top