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Professional Services Research Ethics Committee



The Professional Services Research Ethics Committee (ProSREC) aims to provide advice and support about research ethics to staff within the Professional Services Directorate.

If you are conducting, or planning to conduct, research within any of these departments, you may need ethics approval from ProSREC before commencing your work. On these web pages you will be able to find all the information you need to determine whether you need such approval, and if so, how to obtain it.

Do I need ethics approval?

The University’s Code of Practice applies to all academic activities. It therefore applies to activities that could be defined as research undertaken within Professional Services departments, particularly those involving human participants and their data.

The need for ethical consideration by this committee covers both traditional empirical research methods such as questionnaires, and also other methods of data collection. For example focus groups where personal data is collected or sensitive topics are covered.

The University uses the Frascati definition to determine whether a project should be classified as research:

Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative and systematic work undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge – including knowledge of humankind, culture and society – and to devise new applications of available knowledge.

For further details, see Is this project research or not?  

It is worth noting that this page is written from a funding perspective which may not be relevant in some cases.

When would ethics approval generally not be required:

  • Where work is undertaken as reflective practice, 
  • Where results are not intended to increase the stock of knowledge or evidence the effectiveness of new applications of available knowledge (the Frascati definition),
  • Where the results will not be disseminated or published beyond the required audience for reflective practice or internal service improvements,
  • Where work is intended to support Business as Usual and will not be shared beyond a limited audience,
  • For regulatory matters or mandatory consultations (eg USS)

If you’re unsure if your project is research, get in touch:

Apply for Ethics approval

Apply for Ethics approval

This tab explains the process of applying to the Professional Services research ethics committee for ethics approval. If you have any questions about the process, email for clarification. 

How to apply

1. Researcher completes the submission form and accompanying documentation ie information sheet/s, consent form/s, and any other supporting documents.

2. Researcher submits the form with accompanying documentation to

Depending on the nature of your project, in order to complete your application you may need to:

  1. Complete a data management plan,
  2. Consult the Research and Knowledge Exchange Contracts Team to ensure appropriate contracts and/or data sharing arrangements are in place,
  3. Develop any questionnaires that will be used during your research as they may need to be submitted before approval can be given,
  4. Ensure any planned incentives align with the Policy on the Payment of Individuals for Involvement With and Contribution to Research.

In all cases, you are expected to have read the Guidance on Data Storage and Protection before completing your application.

Links to guidance and useful templates can be found on the sidebar to the right.

3. Committee responds

The committee will respond to submissions within a maximum of four weeks, but will endeavour to respond sooner than this. The applicant should not start the research until approval has been given.  

The committee will respond by email once the submission has been reviewed.

The response will indicate whether the application has been:

  • approved
  • approved but with advisory comments to be considered
  • approved subject to mandatory changes being made and approved by the committee
  • not approved
  • ethical assessment not applicable- feedback provided

Please note that as per the Code of practice and principles for good ethical governance retrospective ethical approval is fundamentally unethical and is not permitted.  You must not start collecting research data prior to obtaining ethical approval.

Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference

  1. To ensure that the principles and standards articulated within the University's ethical framework are upheld in relation to all academic activity undertaken under the University's auspices, including consultancy, outreach and sharing of best practice;
  2. To consider and provide guidance on ethical issues arising from academic activity (eg in relation to the funding, conduct, dissemination, collaboration or application of these activities);
  3. To maintain clear, well-documented and easily accessible audit trails of decisions made by and on behalf of the Committee, including the original proposal, ethics approvals, and any subsequent modifications;
  4. To work with colleagues across the Professional Service Directorates to raise awareness and understanding of the University's ethical framework among those to whom it applies, and to offer informal advice in response to queries;
  5. To report to the Academic Ethics and Compliance Committee and other relevant bodies on all matters relating to these terms of reference.

The Committee will meet at least twice a year.

Full Terms of Reference

Current membership

Current membership

  • Chair: Dr Nadia Mifka-Profozic, Senior Lecturer, Education 
  • Deputy Chair: TBC

Three staff members appointed by Professional Services Heads of Department

  • David Diston, Head of the Research and Innovation Development Team/Research and Innovation Development Manager (Until August 2026)
  • Duncan Jackson, Head of Academic Practice, Student and Academic Services (until August 2025)
  • Cecilia Lowe, Head of Learning Enhancement: Library, Archives and Learning Services (until August 2025)

Three members from the University Academic Community

  • Dr Angela de Bruin, Lecturer, Department of Psychology (until August 2025)
  • Angus Marshall, Lecturer, Department of Computer Science (until August 2025)
  • Dr Joanne Bretherton, Associate Professor, School for Business and Society (until August 2026)

One Lay member

  • Stewart Aitken, former UoY PhD student and lay member of the Physical Sciences Ethics Committee (until August 2025)

Student Representative

  • Leon Corneille Cowell, Bsc in Archaeology (until August 2024)

In attendance

  • Ms Jen Mayne, Research Ethics Policy Officer (Committee Secretary)