Research Ethics Committee, UK

Research Ethics Committee

Chair: Dr Sarah Savant

The Committee reviews all research projects proposed by faculty members, research fellows and students at AKU-ISMC that involve human subjects, whether as individuals or communities. 

The Committee reviews applications based on ethics guidelines outlined by the British Sociological Association (Statement of Ethical Practice)  and the Association of Social Anthropologists , which are relevant to Humanities and Social Sciences research in the UK. The Committee also refers to the AKU’s ‘Policy Guidelines on Research Ethics for the Social Sciences and Humanities.’ The key principles that the Committee is concerned with are informed and voluntary consent; privacy, confidentiality and anonymity; reciprocity; and no/minimal risk of harm.

Researchers must obtain approval from the REC before fieldwork can begin.  The Committee may withdraw approval if the study is being conducted in a way which is not in accord with the conditions of its approval or in a way which does not protect the rights, dignity and welfare of the research participants.  Should the AKU-ISMC Research Ethics Committee receive an application that is considered to be particularly high risk, the Committee will refer the application to the AKU Ethics Review Committee.

Members

The Committee consists of three members of faculty, AKU-ISMC (by rotation every two years). The AKU-ISMC REC maintains a list of external advisors, namely scholars working in the areas of Humanities and Social Sciences who have extensive expertise in research ethics. These external advisors are called upon in the event that the REC requires additional advice on matters relating specifically to research ethics in the context of the Humanities and Social Sciences in the UK. Meetings are called by the Chair on an ad hoc basis, in response to applications for research approval.

The Committee Members are:

  • Dr Sarah Savant
  • Dr Stéphane Pradines
  • Dr Sevgi Adak
  • Dr Ruth Mandel, External Member

Review Process

Applications presenting potential ethical issues are reviewed by the full committee (including external member). If need be, applicants will be asked to meet with the Committee in person and respond to any issues raised. Should the area of research fall outside of the expertise of committee members, external experts will be consulted. 

Decision of the Committee is communicated to applicants within 4 weeks of the application submission. For applications for which further information is needed, a letter requesting additional detail will be sent to the applicant. Upon resubmission of the application, the Committee may decide to review the application in the next Committee meeting, or may choose to invite the applicant to attend the meeting to clarify any matters of concern.