Biological Science (BIOSCI) FREC

Terms of Reference 

  1. To consider applications for ethical review from University staff and students which include research with significant ethical dimensions, in particular those involving human subjects; data pertaining to human subjects; and research with the potential for an adverse impact upon the physical environment. UREC has delegated the review of such proposals to the Faculty Research Ethics Committees (FRECs). 
  2. To work with applicants to ensure that research is conducted ethically. 
  3. To protect the dignity, rights and welfare of research participants and to consider the safety of the researcher(s).
  4. To ensure that ethics review is independent, competent and timely.
  5. To promote awareness and understanding of ethical issues in research throughout the Faculties covered by the FREC 
  6. To provide advice on any ethical matters relating to research that are referred to it from within the Faculties covered by the FREC 
  7. To audit completed research which received ethical approval to ensure compliance with ethical practices 
  8. To monitor the ethics review arrangements in place within Schools and Institutes within the Faculties covered by the FREC 
  9. Where necessary, to withdraw or suspend approval of a research project due to serious concerns regarding its ethical aspects 
  10. To refer matters of complexity or sensitivity to the UREC for advice or assessment 
  11. To report to UREC on an annual basis 
  12. Where the Committee is responsible for more than one Faculty, the Chair and Deputy Chair will usually be based in different Faculties 
  13. The FREC will meet four times a year and on an ad hoc basis as necessary 
  14. The Committee shall have the power to co-opt such additional members as are necessary for the conduct of its business 
  15. Applications which come within the remit of the National Research Ethics Service, or Home Office regulated research are not within the remit of this Committee  


Membership should be multidisciplinary and include representatives of all the Schools within the Faculties covered by the FREC as well as at least one appropriately trained external member with no affiliation to the University of Leeds, and be constituted so that conflicts of interest are avoided. 

Chair: Dr Carrie Ferguson, School of Biomedical Sciences
Deputy Chair: Dr David Lewis, School of Biomedical Sciences

School representatives:
School of Biomedical Sciences: Dr Bryan Taylor
School of Biology: Dr Christopher Hassall 
School of Molecular and Cellular Biology: Dr Martin Stacey 

Lay member(s):
Janet Knowles, Lawyer 

Additional members: 
Dr Paul Beal, Health and Safety representative
Dr Andrew Smith, School of Biomedical Sciences and member with medical expertise
Prof Lisa Collins, School of Biology

Postgraduate student representatives:
Gemma Lyall, School of Biomedical Sciences 

Ex-officio members:
Prof Brendan Davies, School of Biology
Prof Derek Steele, School of Biomedical Sciences 

In attendance
Jennifer Blaikie, Senior Research Ethics Administrator, the Secretariat 
Dr Alice Temple, Research Ethics Senior Training and Development Officer, ODPL/ IDEA CETL

Research ethics presentation to FBS staff

Review process

Most applications are reviewed by email by at least four members of the FREC. Once your complete application is received you'll receive an email from the administrator confirming receipt and giving you an ethics reference number (eg BIOSCI 14-567). You should allow six weeks for the review to take place. The initial review usually takes place within 2-3 weeks, and once this has happened you'll receive a letter from the administrator detailing the outcome of the review. You may be asked to clarify certain aspects of your application or to make some changes (this is called a Provisional Opinion) or your application may be approved without you having to make any changes (a Favourable Opinion). In very rare cases an application may be given an Unfavourable Opinion, if this happens the FREC will explain in the letter why that decision was made and they will offer to discuss options for changing your research project with you.

planning research