Research Ethics

The University takes very seriously the responsibility for ensuring that its research work is ethical at all times and at all stages, and that full risk analysis, risk evaluation, risk handling, and safeguarding are addressed. USJ is committed to the development and practice of ethical research; in this, it ensures due diligence, risk analysis, equity, accuracy, honesty, transparency, and safeguarding in the planning, approval, conduct, reporting, and dissemination of research.

Staff of USJ who are proposing to conduct research are advised, in the strongest possible terms, to discuss their proposed research with their Dean respectively. Students proposing and conducting research are required to have the approval of their Supervisor. Formal applications to the University Research Ethics Committee must be completed on the pro-forma USJ Application for Research Ethics Approval and submitted to this Committee ( This email can be used to contact the Chair of the Committee if you have any queries concerning ethics approval.

For research ethics, each Faculty/School/Institute has its Scientific Council, and this has initial responsibility for ensuring that research proposals, research projects and their monitoring, address and meet ethical requirements and responsibilities. Additionally, the University Research Ethics Committee has responsibility for ensuring that research on humans and animals meets required standards of ethics, and, where relevant, there are wider consequences of ethical significance, before endorsing, rejecting, requiring revisions to, signing off etc. a research proposal. This Committee’s research ethics responsibilities include, but are not limited to: oversight, approval, practice, monitoring, review, and reporting of research and its ethics with human subjects and animals. Care is taken to ensure research integrity and to consider the consequences of, and safety and welfare in, human, societal, environmental and professional protection and development. Research at USJ must accord with its the policies, practices, and requirements for research ethics.

The University Research Ethics Committee reviews formal applications for research ethics approval, disclosure of which is typically required when publishing research. It exists to:

  1. promote the status and oversight of research ethics in the University, receiving and providing reports on research ethics in the University, as appropriate; 
  2. review and oversee the implementation of, and compliance with, the University’s policy on, procedures for, and implementation of research ethics and conduct;
  3. ensure that research ethics are addressed with due diligence, risk analysis, equity and safeguarding;
  4. provide opinions and recommendations to the Scientific Councils for research proposals that involve humans and animals which include ethical issues, and, where relevant, wider consequences of ethical significance, for all funded research (internal and external);
  5. adjudicate on disagreements, uncertainties and issues on ethical matters in research proposals that arise at the level of the academic units of the University and which are referred to the University Research Ethics Committee;
  6. make recommendations on, enforce, review, and supervise the policy and procedures for, and organization and implementation of, research ethics at the University level.

This Committee is responsible for promoting research ethics and its impact internally and externally. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. developing, setting, implementing, monitoring, reviewing and evaluating the strategy for, and strategic development of, research ethics and their impact;
  2. overseeing issues, procedures and practices of research ethics and integrity, and their implementation, and adjudicating on issues of breaches of University policy, regulations, procedures, with regard to research ethics, that are brought to its attention, and taking consequent action as appropriate;
  3. in the case of funded research for which the University is required to sign off formal approval of the research ethics, e.g. for externally funded proposals, receiving, considering and coming to a decision on the ethics in the research proposal, e.g. to endorse, endorse subject to minor amendments being made, require reworking of the ethical issues before approval is reconsidered for the University to sign off formal approval;
  4. with regard to research ethics, coming to a final decision on the research proposal and/or the issues raised by the Scientific Council, in which concerns have been raised at the meeting of the Scientific Council, in the event of there being irresolvable, sensitive, uncertain or problematic issues or disagreements within or between the Scientific Council(s), in which case(s) the proposal must go to the University Research Ethics Committee for adjudication.
  5. regarding diversity, inclusion, equity and equality, and rigour in research as ethical matters which are addressed in the University’s research work.

Last Updated: December 13, 2023 at 1:30 pm