School of Applied Sciences research application process

This page will give more detailed information regarding the Application Process, Amendments and NHS Ethical Approval of research projects in the School of Applied Sciences (SAS).

The Application Process

All funded and non-funded research involving human participants, material or data within the School of Applied Sciences (SAS) must apply for ethical approval by the School Research Integrity Committee. If your research involves participants from across Edinburgh Napier University, you should apply for ethical approval from the University Research Integrity Committee instead (contact details here).

The SAS ethical approval application form and supporting documentation can be found here [link to page]. Before submitting your application, please take the time to read through the checklist [link].

Undergraduate & Taught Postgraduate Students (SAS)

Applications for ethical approval from undergraduate and taught postgraduate students within SAS are reviewed within programme teams: Biological Sciences; Psychology; Social Sciences; Sport, Exercise & Health. Please follow the guidance provided by your module/programme leader on how to submit your application.

SAS Staff & Postgraduate Research Students, Non-SAS Researchers

Researchers should submit an electronic copy of the application form [link] and all supporting materials as a single file (Word or pdf) to A signed paper copy of the application should also be submitted to:

Jill Meek

Clerk, School of Applied Sciences Research Integrity Committee

Edinburgh Napier University

Sighthill Campus


EH11 4BN

Any subsequent applications (e.g., if amendments are required) should be submitted using the same process.

Expected turnaround times

Staff, postgraduate research and external applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and are sent out for review on the Wednesday following submission. The turnaround time for receiving initial feedback on applications for ethical approval is normally three weeks from the date the application is sent out for review.

Please note that the three-week turnaround time applies to feedback, and not necessarily to final approval. In many cases, applications will not be approved first-time, and reviewers will request amendments or additional information before approval can be granted. It therefore often takes longer than three weeks to receive final ethical approval, and researchers should plan their time accordingly and apply well in advance.

Although a three-week turnaround is aimed for, this cannot always be guaranteed at busy times of year (e.g., during exam marking). Applicants should note that staff availability is particularly limited during the summer months (June-August), and applications submitted at that time of year will take significantly longer to receive feedback

The Application Form & Supporting Documents

University Research Integrity pages

Lone Working Procedure for Social Researchers

Health and Safety


Amendments to applications following reviewer feedback

In many cases, reviewers will request amendments to applications before final ethical approval can be granted. Amended applications should be submitted directly to reviewers, copying in . Please remember to update the version number on the application form, and include the application reference number in any communication – doing so will help speed up review of your application. It is also helpful if you highlight any amendments in your updated application (e.g., yellow highlight or red text).

Amendments to study protocol of approved project

If a researcher needs to make any amendments to the protocol of a previously approved study (e.g., changes to sampling strategy, measures, dates of data collection, etc.), they should apply to the SAS Research Integrity Committee for further ethical approval. Researchers should submit the amended application form and any updated materials with changes highlighted to . Minor changes will be considered by the convenor, but more substantial changes may have to go through full ethical review.

NHS Ethical Approval

Research involving research participants identified from, or because of their past or present use of NHS services should apply for NHS ethical approval. In addition, other research not involving NHS participants may also require NHS ethical approval, for example:

  • Research involving ionising radiation;
  • Research involving a non-CE marked medical device;
  • Clinical trials of an investigational medicinal product

Researchers should consult the Do I need NHS REC approval? decision tool to check whether their work needs NHS ethical approval. Alternatively, an enquiry can be sent to the NHS Research Ethics Committee to check whether submission is required.

The person to contact in relation to NHS Lothian is:

Dr Helen Newbery

Scientific Officer

South East Scotland Research Ethics Service

Waverley Gate



Phone: 0131 465 5679 (35679)

IRAS (Integrated Research Application System)

Applications for NHS ethical approval are submitted via the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS). The completed IRAS form should be submitted to the School Research Integrity Committee and ethical approval must be obtained before submission to the NHS Ethics approval system. One electronic copy and one signed paper copy must be submitted.

Further information on the NHS research ethics application process can be found here.

As part of the application process, you will need to provide appropriate insurance certificates. Current Edinburgh Napier University indemnity and liability certificates can be found here.

Research passports

All non-NHS researchers require a research passport to allow them to undertake research in this setting. Further information about research passports can be found here.