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Research Ethics

University of Suffolk is committed to ensuring research undertaken by its staff and students is of the highest professional standard and meets current ethical guidelines.

Researchers should consider the ethical implications of their research activities and what level of independent ethical review is required before they proceed. This should take into account;

  • The nature of the research
  • Funders' policies
  • Policy requirements of the organisation(s) involved in the research
  • The laws of the country(ies) involved in the research

For further information about our research environment, and enquiries about research opportunities please contact: 

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Code of Practice

It is a requirement that each institution submitting to REF 2021 develops a Code of Practice. This sets out our approach to ensuring equality of opportunity in REF 2021 decision-making processes. The funding bodies that run the REF provided detailed guidance and a structured template for us to use.

Staff are encouraged to read the Code of Practice, but a summary of the key points is provided below.

Summary of Key Points

The University of Suffolk attended external consultation events provided by REF; CREST and AdvanceHE and provided internal training and consultation workshops across all Schools. 

Academic staff at the University of Suffolk with a significant responsibility for research from all levels - Lecturers, Research Fellows, Senior Lecturers, Associate Professors and Professors - are identified through being actively engaged in research in their discipline as defined as Category A Eligible staff in the guidance document for REF2021.

The criteria we used for staff to self- select and consider themselves as eligible were the same as set out in the REF 2021 Guidance in that: 

  • Staff with significant responsibility for research are those for whom:
  • ‘Explicit time and resources are made available’ with a specific proportion of time allocated for research, and research allocation in their workload. 
  • ‘To be engaged actively in independent research’; eligible to apply for research funding as the lead or co-applicant and membership of research centres and research institutes. 
  • ‘And that is an expectation of their job role’ and this is reflected in their career pathway and stated objectives and appraisals.

Academic staff at the University of Suffolk with research independence are identified through being actively engaged in research in their discipline as defined as Category A Eligible staff in the guidance document for REF2021. As such they are defined as academic staff with a contract of employment of 0.2 FTE or greater whose primary employment function is to undertake either teaching and research or research only whereby research, is understood as a ‘process of investigation leading to new insights, effectively shared’ and who consider themselves to fulfil some of the criteria for research independence outlines above. A range of staff participated in the discussions that contributed to the selection of units of assessments for submission to REF 2021. These included the Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, School Deans and the Director of Research and School Research Leads. 

The University has instituted a robust process of external review of the quality of all research outputs that are put forward by staff for consideration for REF2021. External reviewers will be selected based on their scholarly standing, familiarity with the REF evaluation scale, and are independent from the University.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at, should you have any questions.