Research Ethics

Please click here to read the Conservatoires UK statement on Research Integrity and Governance. Please ensure that you are also familiar with the principles and guidance set out in the UK Research Integrity Office’s Code of Practice for Research and Misconduct Investigation Procedure, and the RCUK Policy and Guidelines on the Governance of Good Research Conduct (updated in April 2017). All researchers, whether funded directly or indirectly by one or more of the UK Research Councils, are bound by this policy.

According to the second commitment of the Concordat to Support Research Integrity, all research involving human participation must be subject to ethical review and approval.

Some Conservatoire UK institutions have internal research ethics committees and procedures to be followed by all those undertaking research at their own institutions, regardless of whether the research has received ethical approval from another source.

Other Conservatoire UK institutions have internal research ethics committees and procedures to be followed by student and staff researchers at their own institution and are prepared to fast-track or approve applications from external researchers whose research already has ethical approval.

Researchers who are not affiliated to an institution, affiliated to an institution without an internal research ethics committee and/or who wish to undertake research at one or more participating Conservatoires UK institutions can apply for ethical approval from the Conservatoires UK Research Ethics Committee (CUK REC). Please scroll down for guidelines and application forms.


Ethical approval to undertake research involving human participation does not imply permission. Permission to undertake research at a specific institution must be obtained from that institution before the research is carried out.


How to apply for ethical approval


Please read the relevant guidelines before you complete your application. You are encouraged to check your application against the appropriate checklist before you obtain the signature of your Conservatoires UK Research Ethics Committee (CUK REC) representative (see below) or, if you are an external researcher, the CUK REC representative at the institution where you have permission to undertake your research.


Application forms


It is the CUK REC representative’s responsibility to ensure that:

  • the appropriate form has been completed in full
  • with all necessary attachments (e.g. participant information sheets, consent forms, sample questionnaires)
  • the forms have been signed (electronically) by the appropriate signatories

The form should not be submitted to the Chair of the CUK REC for distribution to and consideration by the Committee until the CUK REC representative is satisfied that all ethical considerations have been addressed. These include issues such as:

  • the value of the research (it is unethical to waste potential participants’ time and energy on investigations that have already been done, unless there is a specific purpose for replicating existing research, or that address trivial questions)
  • the proposed methodology and
  • any materials to be used in the research (e.g. interview schedule, questionnaires, description of special equipment)

In short, there should be no reason for the application to be returned by the Chair to the CUK REC representative for revision before it can be distributed to the Committee for consideration.

If you have any queries that cannot be answered by your CUK REC representative, please contact the Chair, Professor Emma Redding (


Please make your submission to the CUK REC as follows:

Send an electronic copy of the submission, formatted into one file, to Felicity Beach ( wwith Application to CUK REC in the subject line.


The CUK REC consists of one or more CUK REC representatives at each CUK institution, typically the Head or Deputy Head of Research and one other representative with appropriate qualifications (e.g. Head of Quality Assurance or a member of staff with responsibility for data protection).

The Committee thus has 15 members, of whom those who have not been involved in the submission of an application will be eligible to comment on it. Committee members in 2017-2018 are:

  • Emma Redding (Chair, Trinity Laban)
  • Jane Ginsborg (Deputy Chair, RNCM)
  • Barbara Kelly (Deputy Chair, RNCM)
  • Garth Bardsley (RNCM)
  • Stephen Broad (RCS)
  • Joshua Dickson (RCS)
  • Christopher Dingle (Birmingham Conservatoire)
  • John Irving (Trinity Laban)
  • Pamela Lidiard (GSMD)
  • Alistair MacDonald (RCS)
  • Terry Clark (RCM)
  • Rosie Perkins (RCM)
  • Ann Sloboda (GSMD)
  • Carrie Churnside (Birmingham Conservatoire)
  • Neta Spiro (RCM)

Applications should be submitted by the deadline of 5pm on the following Fridays:

Term 1: 20 October 2017, 01 December 2017

Term 2: 02 February 2018, 16 March 2018

Term 3: 18 May 2018, 29 June 2018

Summer: 24 August 2018

The rationale for the timing of these deadlines is that they are (roughly) equally-spaced throughout the year, with a slightly longer gap between deadlines over the summer. There should be no need for “extraordinary” applications to be made at other times, but while the deadlines will be specified on the application forms it will also been made clear that such applications will be considered exceptionally with good reason.

Applications will be considered by all members of the Committee except the CUK REC representative who has signed the application and any co-investigators who are also members of the Committee. Researchers’ names and the details of projects will be treated as confidential within the Committee.

Applications made or signed by the Chair will be administered by the Deputy Chair.


Applications are stored centrally by the Chair and distributed to the committee members by email.

Outcomes will be as follows:

  • Approval (which must be unanimous)
  • Revise, according to comments made on checklists
  • Reject with no possibility of revision

The Chair will facilitate discussion by e-mail of applications for which approval is withheld by one or more members of the Committee.

Outcomes will be communicated and Certificates of Approval, where granted, will be issued on behalf of the Chair to the CUK REC representative, whose responsibility it is to convey them to applicants at their home institution.

Revisions, if necessary, must be checked by the CUK REC representative and signed off again before the application is resubmitted to the CUK REC.