School of Economics

Research Ethics

The University of Nottingham requires all staff and students who are engaged in research to maintain the highest standards of integrity in the conduct of research.

The university's principles for research ethics are integrated into the Code of Research Conduct and Research Ethics.

Current university policy is for all its research to comply with university guidelines regarding the ethical conduct of research. In particular, research must undergo ethical review and receive approval before work can begin where research involves the participation of human subjects, their data and/or their tissue. This flowchart may assist you if you are unsure as to whether your project requires ethical review. If in doubt, please consult the university guidelines.

The Nottingham School of Economics Research Ethics Committee (NSE-REC) manages and monitors procedures for obtaining ethical approval for research projects within the school. In order to obtain ethical approval you must download, complete and sign the School of Economics Research Ethics Approval Form (preferably on your computer), and email it to

There is no deadline for submissions of the ethics approval form. However, you cannot commence collecting data until you have received approval. Two members of the NSE-REC (normally including the school's Research Ethics Officer) will consider the proposal. If both are satisfied that the project involves minimal risk, that any ethical issues identified have been addressed appropriately, and there are no remaining ethics concerns the proposal will be approved and the applicant (and supervisor in the case of student proposals) will be notified by email.

If the two members cannot agree to approve, then the rest of the committee will be consulted and a final decision will be made by majority vote. Where a decision has gone against a proposal or has required significant revisions to its conduct, the applicant can request that the NSE-REC reconsiders its decision. If unsuccessful, the applicant can appeal to the university Research Ethics Committee.

Complaints or expressions of concern about the unethical conduct of research by NSE researchers can be directed to the NSE-REC.

The NSE-REC is responsible for initially responding to any evidence that research requiring ethical approval is carried out that is either:

  1. not approved by the NSE-REC or
  2. not conducted in conformity with the proposal approved by the NSE-REC

Useful documents

Professor Martin Sefton
School Research Ethics Officer

September 2020


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