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University Research Ethics Committee

The remit of the University Research Ethics Committee (UREC) is to oversee all research ethics matters concerning research conducted by Brunel University staff and students which involves human participants, their tissues, and their data.  Research ethics is devolved to the three Colleges, each of which has their own research ethics committee.  The College Research Ethics Committees are accountable to the UREC.  The central Committee acts as the 'College' Research Ethics Committee for staff and students in  Research Institutes who are not assigned to a College.  The Committee also provides training in research ethics to the Colleges.

Matters relating to human tissue and compliance with the Human Tissue Act are the remit of the Human Tissue Act Compliance Sub-Committee.

Matters involving the use of animals in scientific research, compliance with Home Office Regulations and the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 are the remit of the Animal Welfare Ethical Review Board. The University endorses the ARRIVE (Animal Research: In Vivo Experiments) guidelines and is committed to the Replacement, refinement and reduction of animals in research policy.

The University has a Federal-wide Assurance and the Committee sits as an Institutional Review Board to approve research using human participants which is to be funded by a United States Department of State or Federal agency.

The University subscribes to and conforms with the principles of the Research Councils UK Concordat to Support the Development of Researchers, and the Universities UK concordat to support research integrity.

The UREC is chaired by Professor Peter Hobson; the secretary is Ms Kate Dunbar.  They can be contacted by e-mailing

Brunel University London Research Ethics Committee


  • Chair
  • Designated Deputy Chair
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research
  • Dean of Research
  • Chair of Human Tissue Act Compliance Sub-Committee (Designated Individual for HTA Licence)
  • Chair of Animal Research Ethics Sub-Committee
  • College Vice-Dean (Research and/or Education) or his/her designated individual from each College
  • College Research Manager or designated individual from each College
  • A maximum of two Research Ethics Officers from each College (to be decided by the individual College). Each REO must also have a named alternate, who would be asked to attend the UREC meetings if the primary REO is unable to do so
  • Designated individual – Brunel Research Institutes Central Support
  • President or designate – Union of Brunel Students
  • One representative – Research Support and Development Office
  • One representative – Health and Safety Office
  • One representative – Governance, Information and Legal Office
  • Up to four co-opted individuals representing the University or Council, with expertise in research ethics
  • At least two external representatives.

Terms of Reference

1. To provide a research ethics framework to establish and maintain policies, processes and procedures (including codes of practice where appropriate) to ensure that all research conducted within the University meets the University’s ethical standards, including national and international frameworks where required.

2. To ensure awareness of research ethics issues throughout the University as determined by current and relevant national and international codes of best practice.

3. To be accountable to the Council of the University and have independent, delegated authority from Council to approve, with or without modification, or to reject proposals for research or proposals which are referred to it on ethical grounds.

4. To take all reasonable steps to embed a culture and awareness of ethics in research within the University, with particular reference to staff and student development in research ethics.

5. To require reports from UREC Sub-committees and Colleges, and to require such other reports as may be deemed necessary.

6. To be the appropriate body to consider the ethical implications of particular research partnerships and of particular sources of research funding.

7. To provide an annual report to Council and Senate.