Research Ethics Committee


The College's Research Ethics Committee (REC), a sub-committee of the Research Committee, is chaired by Dr Gabrielle Nig Uidhir and meets on regular occasions during an academic year. Click on the links below to download the mission statement and role of the Research Ethics Committee or its governance structure, remit and responsibilities.

REC Mission Statement and Role

REC Governance Structure, Remit and Responsibilities


Members of the Research Ethics Committee

The current members of the Research Ethics Committee at St Mary's University College Belfast are (clockwise from the top):

Dr Brian Hanratty, Dr Gerard McCann and Dr Gabrielle Nig Uidhir.



Procedures for Students

When students intend to use participants in their research, they must be asked by the lecturer supervising their research activity to complete the student ethics review form. This form should be discussed with the student in detail and lecturers are responsible for checking that the student is aware of the ethical guidelines that are specified. These are the College’s code of practice for research and the British Educational Research Association's  (BERA) ethical guidelines. The student must sign that he/she is aware of the content of these guidelines.

When the lecturer agrees that the proposed activity does not raise any serious ethical questions, the lecturer should sign the review form to indicate that this is the case. Once this is done, the supervising lecturer should ask a department/course team colleague to undertake again the ethical scrutiny of the proposed activity and if the second lecturer agrees that it does not raise any serious ethical questions, then the second lecturer should sign the review form to indicate that this is the case. The form should be retained by the supervising lecturer in the subject department. It is normal practice that this completed form would be attached to the final report of the research activity, however, this is a matter for the subject department to decide on.

When the lecturers believe that the proposed research activity could or does raise serious ethical questions, the lecturers should sign the form to that effect. It is then the supervising lecturer’s responsibility at this stage to ensure that the student completes the detailed ethics review form and that this is forwarded to the Research Ethics Committee. If the student is asked to fill in the detailed ethics review form no research activity should take place until the research activity is granted approval by the Research Ethics Committee.


Procedures for Academic Staff

When a member of academic staff intends to use participants for gathering data in his/her research activity he/she should complete the detailed ethics review form. This should then be submitted to the Research Ethics Committee for approval. Research activity should not take place until approval has been granted.


Documents for Download

Below are the ethics review forms and other relevant documents which can be downloaded for use by academic staff and students. Ethics review forms are required to be completed by any student or member of academic staff who intends to use participants in research activity and to gather data from the participants using social science methodology, for example questionnaires, observations schedules, interviews or focus groups.

Student Ethics Review Form

Detailed Ethics Review Form

Code of Practice for Research at St Mary's 2020-2026

BERA Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research (2018)

UKRI Policy and Guidelines on Governance of Good Research Conduct (2013)

UK Research Integrity Office Code of Practice for Research (2009 & 2021)

ESRC Framework for Research Ethics (2015)