Research Integrity and Governance

All those engaged with research have a duty to consider how the work they undertake, host or support impacts on society and on the wider research community (Universities UK, p. 9).

As research organisations, the institutions comprising Conservatoires UK support the principles set out in Universities UK’s Concordat to Support Research Integrity (2012), which are summarised in the form of the following commitments:

  • maintaining the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of research
  • ensuring that research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards
  • supporting a research environment that is underpinned by a culture of integrity and based on good governance, best practice and support for the development of researchers
  • using transparent, robust and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct should they arise
  • working together to strengthen the integrity of research and to review progress regularly and openly

Similarly, the institutions comprising Conservatoires UK must adhere to the principles and guidance set out in the UK Research Integrity Office’s Code of Practice for Research and Misconduct Investigation Procedure.

All the institutions comprising Conservatoires UK have their own policies on the good conduct of research and procedures for investigating misconduct, based on the RCUK Policy and Guidelines on the Governance of Good Research Conduct, which was updated in April 2017. All researchers, whether directly or indirectly funded 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. Guidelines and application forms are available here.


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.


Access to sensitive or extremism-related research material


In accordance with the ‘Prevent’ responsibilities of higher education bodies, intended to ‘prevent’ radicalisation/extremism, research students and staff will need to seek approval within their own institution to gain access to electronic or other material related to subjects concerning radicalisation and extremism. Such access will not be withheld where the student or member of staff has good academic reasons to access such material, in accordance with academic freedom principles.

Where access is provided, the conservatoire will give attention to ensuring that such material is securely stored, whether in secure physical or electronic storage, and will be disposed of securely when no longer needed.

The institutional contact for requests to access such material will be the most senior member of staff in the conservatoire with responsibility for research and this will normally be a member of the senior management of the institution.

Conservatoires will be guided by the Universities UK guidance in this area, currently available here. As this guidance says: ‘Universities play a vital role in carrying out research on issues where security-sensitive material is relevant. This guidance document concerns the storage and circulation of security-sensitive research material. If circulated carelessly, such material is sometimes open to misinterpretation by the authorities, and can put authors in danger of arrest and prosecution under, for example, counter-terrorism legislation. Certain procedures for independently registering and storing this material – through research ethics processes – are recommended in this guidance.’