Research Operations Office

Ethics in Research

The University of Cambridge has a long-standing commitment to the highest standards of ethics in research. Over time, discipline-specific policies and processes have developed to ensure that research at Cambridge not only meets the requirements of legislation and research sponsors, but also satisfies the standards of disciplinary best practice adopted by peers.

The University's Ethics Policy on the Ethics of Research Involving Human Participants and Personal Data, is available here. This policy relates solely to research involving human participants and personal data, for the University's Policy on the use of animals in research and teaching see:

Further details and guidance on research ethics issues are available on the University's Research Ethics Website.

Ethical Review

The University is committed to providing a rigorous and independent ethical review process for research involving human participation or personal data. There are four School-level research ethics committees at Cambridge that can provide appropriate guidance and review for most research projects within their disciplinary remits. These are:

A number of departments and faculties at the University also have their own local research ethics committees to provide guidance to researchers and expert local review for low risk research. Please contact your Department for more details.

Ethical review at Cambridge is overseen by the University Research Ethics Committee (UREC). If required, School-level research ethics committees may refer applications for ethical review to the UREC and applicants may appeal to UREC against the decision of Cambridge University research committees. The grounds on which such appeals can be made and the process for making an appeal can be found in the University of Cambridge Research Ethics Review Appeals Procedure. For further information on UREC, or to contact the Committee, please email

Research that requires review by an external body, such as a National Research Ethics Service (NRES) Committee, should be identified and referred to that body as early as possible in the review process. For details on when to apply to NRES, please see the School of Clinical Medicine's Research Governance pages: