Ethics committee

The scope of the School-Student Project Ethics Committee (S-SPEC) is to consider and oversee good practice in all matters within the School of Medicine relating to ethical issues associated with students’ research projects undertaken as part of a taught undergraduate or postgraduate course. You can download the full Terms of Reference for the committee together with its ethical guidelines for these activities shortly.

The purpose of these webpages is to provide guidelines to individuals who may be undertaking research activities within the School of Medicine, Keele University. Download the S-SPEC flowchart decision tree flowchart describing the ethical application route. Any projects proposing to use human tissues should contact the Human Tissues Act Officer, Dr Alan Harper for advice. Please contact the S-SPEC chair if you are still unsure.


Students (undergraduate or postgraduate taught, e.g. MMedEd) wishing to carry out a research project with the School of Medicine must first gain approval from S-SPEC using the guidance provided here.

Staff wishing to carry out a research project should apply to the ERP on central campus. The S-SPEC chair should be informed of any project that proposes to involve medical students so that we can advise on ‘access’ arrangements with the relevant year lead.

External applicants (to the School of Medicine or Keele University) that wish to recruit medical students as part of their research project should contact the S-SPEC chair for advice on who to contact to discuss ‘access’ arrangements. A copy of ethical approval from a relevant body would be required.

Guidelines for S-SPEC applicants

All applicants should read the S-SPEC application guidelines and complete the application form. This form should be submitted, together with the relevant supporting documents to S-SPEC via Typically the application will include:

  • The application form
  • Lay summary
  • Participant information and consent forms
  • Peer review
  • Any other relevant documentation for the project (e.g. master’s project proposal form, questionnaires, interview schedules)

S-SPEC must be satisfied that the aims, design and analysis of the project reach an acceptable scientific standard. Projects will require independent peer review by a staff member who is not directly involved in the research project. This must be completed before any application for ethical review, and applicants should allow time for this in their project planning.

Please allow three weeks (15 working days) from submission of your application to get a committee response. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure full approval has been received before any research investigations commence.

Documents available to download


Clive Gibson
Postgraduate Director of the Masters in Medical Education
Senior Lecturer and Director of Academic Staff Development
Keele University
Staffs ST5 5BG
Tel: +44 (0)1782 734244

School of Medicine
David Weatherall building
University Road
Keele University