The Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee considers applications for ethical approval for research programmes in human psychology. Ethical approval is normally sought from the National Research Ethics Service for studies involving patients attending NHS clinics or users of any of the services for which UK Health Departments are responsible. This includes adult social care in England and both adult and children's social care in Wales and Northern Ireland. The Committee may consider applications involving administration of pharmaceuticals to healthy volunteers and use of NHS facilities where no patients are involved. Applications for ethical approval for investigations in human biology, other than psychology, should be made to the Cambridge Human Biology Research Ethics Committee.
Guidance on policy issues may be obtained from the Committee's handbook (see box), which contains a record of policy decisions on ethical issues, and pointers to guidance documents issued by the British Psychological Society, the Medical Research Council and the Royal College of Physicians.
In accordance with University policy, research involving human participants or personal data should not begin until proper ethical review has taken place and approval given. Retrospective ethical reviews are therefore not permitted.
It is University policy that studies involving human participants, without exception, have made arrangements for appropriate insurance. This can be obtained from the University’s Insurance Section. Applications for ethical approval and insurance can be made simultaneously, but evidence of insurance (usually a letter from the Insurance Section) is needed before a Letter of Approval can be issued by the Committee. The MRC-CBU has its own insurance arrangements separate from the University, however evidence of insurance is still needed. Studies undertaken by University staff using MRC-CBU as a site will require University insurance.
Applications for ethical approval are submitted to the Committee on the application form (see box). Answer all questions using the notes provided for guidance. Append any additional information (participant information sheets, consent forms, questionnaires, adverts and so on), labelling them as appendices. Further information is given on the application form. Once complete, submissions are sent as email attachments to:
Applications can also be sent on paper to the following address:
The Administrator of the Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee
School of the Biological Sciences
17 Mill Lane
If you would like further advice on the suitability of a project for review or the review process itself, call: 01223 766894 or consult the ethical review process outline (on the left).
Applications are reviewed by four Committee members from departments other than that of the applicant(s). The Committee is constituted from senior members of departments from which applications are commonly made. The current (2014) members are:
Michael Anderson, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
Anita Chhabra, Addenbrooke's NHS Foundation Trust
Isabel Clare, Department of Psychiatry
Michelle Ellefson, Faculty of Education
Elizabeth Fistein, Department of Psychiatry
Juliet Foster, Department of Psychology
Usha Goswami, Department of Psychology
Ruth Kershner, (Deputy Chair), Faculty of of Education
Michael Lamb, Department of Psychology
Tom Manly, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
Andreas Richter, Judge Institute
James Russell, Department of Psychology
Helen Statham, Centre for Family Research
John Suckling, (Chair), Department of Psychiatry
Sub-Department of Animal Behaviour: Vacant
Lay Member: Vacant
Clinical Advisory Panel:
Carlo Acerini, Department of Paediatrics
Kathy Beardsall, Department of Paediatrics
David Dunger, Department of Paediatrics
David Menon, Department of Anaesthesia
Fraz Mir, Clinical Pharmacology Unit
Ken Ong, MRC Epidemiology Unit
Kevin O'Shaughnessy, Clinical Pharmacology Unit
Matthis Zilbauer, Department of Paediatrics
Appointments to the Committee are for three years. Enquiries on vacant positions should be made to the above address.