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Engineering and Physical Sciences 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 promote awareness and understanding of ethical issues in research throughout the Faculties covered by the FREC.
  4. To provide advice on any ethical matters relating to research that are referred to it from within the Faculties covered by the FREC.
  5. To audit completed research which received ethical approval to ensure compliance with ethical practices.
  6. To monitor the ethics review arrangements in place within Schools and Institutes within the Faculties covered by the FREC.
  7. Where necessary, to withdraw or suspend approval of a research project due to serious concerns regarding its ethical aspects.
  8. To refer matters of complexity or sensitivity to the UREC for advice or assessment.
  9. To report to UREC on an annual basis.
  10. Where the Committee is responsible for more than one Faculty, the Chair and Deputy Chair will usually be based in different Faculties.
  11. The FREC will meet four times a year and on an ad hoc basis as necessary.
  12. The Committee shall have the power to co-opt such additional members as are necessary for the conduct of its business.
  13. Applications which come within the remit of the Health Research Authority Research Ethics Committees, 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 Faculty, 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 Virginia Pensabene
Deputy Chair: Vacancy

Faculty representatives:


Postgraduate representatives:


Ms Brenda Phillips, Research Data Leeds

Ex officio members: 

Dr Stuart Barber, Graduate School representative
Professor Giles Davies, Pro-Dean for Research and Innovation
Professor Richard Hall, Graduate School representative
Dr Oliver Harlen, Pro-Dean for Research and Innovation
Dr Kelvin Tapley, Graduate School representative

Lay member(s):
Judith Scott

The Committee has the power to co-opt such additional members as are necessary for the conduct of its business.

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 MEEC 19-167). 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.

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