Research Ethics



Plymouth Marjon University is an inclusive community that values sound learning, new discovery and the pursuit of wisdom for the good of all. In doing so it seeks to apply the highest ethical standards at all levels of decision making, especially taking into account how these decisions might affect others and the natural world. As such, we uphold academic freedom and high ethical, scientific and professional standards. The Ethical Review Process is a cornerstone of such decision-making and praxis in the research context.

Research is a step into the unknown. As a result, seeking unrevealed understanding often presents a range of risks. Some are trivial. Others profound.

The Ethical Review Process is designed to facilitate excellence in the pursuit of knowledge by helping researchers to identify such risks as well as ethical issues in the design, conduct and oversight of research. This enables researchers to develop reasoned and ethically defensible responses to these issues so that they may conduct their research while protecting themselves, their participants, colleagues, environment, and the University.


 The University Research Ethics Panel is currently made up of:

  • Dr Kass Gibson, Member of Research & Knowledge Exchange Committee, Chair
  • Professor Tanya Ovenden-Hopeacademic representative
  • Dr Jon Ord, academic representative
  • Dr Pedro Amarante Andrade, academic representative
  • Dr Joe Layden, academic representative
  • Dr Ted Leverton, Independent member
  • Claire Stevens, Non-teaching member
  • Alison Milyard, Postgraduate student representative


  • Jo Holford, Research Administrator (Panel Sectretary)
  • Norman Jope, Data Protection & Freedom of Information Officer, acts as consultant to the panel.

 Terms of Reference available on request.

Student Ethics Applications

Our Student Ethics Standard Operating Procedure describes the procedures for undergraduate and taught postgraduate research projects. These procedures take effect from academic year 2018-19 onwards.

All undergraduate and postgraduate taught student applications should be submitted to their supervisors in the first instance, not the University Ethics Panel.


Researchers are advised to submit an ethics application well in advance of their anticipated start date.

The following deadlines and response timelines relate to staff and PGR students only.

Light Touch Review

Before 4pm on the first Monday of each month. Applicants can expect a response within four weeks of the deadline.

Please note the caveat attached to our light touch ethics review: light touch applications are assigned as such based on the answers and justtification provided within the Ethics Checklist. However, the light touch review panel reserves the right to escalate an application to the next full panel review if a light touch is deemed inappropriate.

Full Review

Submission DeadlineMeeting DateResponse Date
22 August 2018 5 September 2018 19 September 2018
31 October 2018  14 November 2018 28 November 2018
9 January 2019  23 January 2019 6 February 2019
6 March 2019 20 March 2019  3 April 2019
15 May 2019  5 June 2019 19 June 2019
10 July 2019  24 July 2019 7 August 2019

Ethics Documentation

Our Ethics policy supports the values and ideas of the Concordat to Support Research Integrity UK.

All forms and guidance documents can be found below:


Ethical approval is valid for the duration of the project (as stated on the Ethics application and confirmed in the favourable opinion letter) or 3-5 years, whichever is lesser. It is important that any requests for renewal are submitted no later than 8 weeks before the expiry dates. Late renewal applications (fewer than 6 weeks after expiry date) may not be accepted if there is insufficient justification.

The Study Closure Form should be submitted on completion of your project. Please ensure your study is closed in line with the approval dates given by the Ethics Panel. If your study will not be completed during the approved dates, you should submit a renewal application.


Useful Information

Refer to the following links and guidance: Service evaluation, audit and research: what is the difference?