Research Student - Ethical Review

Ethical Review

Every research project requires ethical review, although in computer science the issues are usually minor. At Birmingham the requirement for research students' thesis work is that the supervisor should complete the ethical review process by the end of the first year. This normally just involves certifying on a web-based self-assessment form that the answer is NO to questions such as the following:

  • Will the research project involve humans as subjects of the research (with or without their knowledge or consent at the time)?
  • Are the results of the research project likely to expose any person to physical or psychological harm?
  • Will you have access to personal information that allows you to identify individuals,or to corporate or company confidential information?
  • Does the research project present a significant risk to the environment or society?
  • Are there any ethical issues raised by this research project that in the opinion of the PI require further ethical review?

(Any YES answer means that further ethical review is needed. However, this is very unusual for Computer Science projects.)

At some time during your first year - and there is no harm in doing it early - you must discuss these ethical issues with your supervisor and be sure your supervisor completes the web form. It is also linked from a page of further information. Your supervisor will need his or her University (not School) login.

At the very latest, you must do this at the time when you draw up your Thesis Proposal (report 3). RSMG will not accept your Thesis Proposal unless the RSMG3 form affirms that the ethical review process has been completed.