Research governance is the framework by which the University manages research to ensure research integrity is maintained. This framework includes principles, legal and regulatory provisions, standards of good practice, policies, guidance, systems, management and supervision. Further information about UWE Bristol's framework for research governance is set out in the University's Code of Good Research Conduct.

Regulations

PGR 10.1 Research project conduct

PGR 10.1.1R All UWE Bristol research must have a designated project manager who is responsible for the conduct of the research including compliance with the University's Code of Good Research Conduct and University policies on:

PGR10.1.2R For postgraduate research projects, the project manager is a designated UWE Bristol member of staff, normally the Director of Studies who is responsible for ensuring that the project is carried out in line with the University's Code of Good Research Conduct, and meets the University's requirements for research governance, research data management, and timely ethical approval, where appropriate.

It is the responsibility of the Director of Studies and, where appropriate, other named supervisors, to ensure that the postgraduate researcher receives effective induction, training, support and monitoring to assure good research practice (see also Code of Good Research Conduct, annex 1, research role definitions).

PGR 10.1.3R The Director of Studies (project manager) is responsible for ensuring that the PGR submits any necessary application for ethical approval for the project where appropriate. Non-compliance with the University’s ethics requirements may lead to in at UWE Bristol, the designated project manager is a UWE member of staff,  normally the Director of Studies,estigation under research misconduct procedures.

PGR10.1.4R A postgraduate researcher who, having received appropriate advice and guidance from their Director of Studies/supervisory team, deliberately and wilfully chooses to ignore it resulting in a breach of the requirements of the Code of Good Research Conduct, may be personally liable (see Code Chapter 5, 5.3.1 p1).

Procedures for research governance

PGR10.2 Ongoing monitoring - good research practice

PGR10.2.1 An induction check list is sent to Directors of Studies to ensure that they cover relevant aspects of research conduct as well as other introductory information with their PGR when they arrive at UWE Bristol.

PGR10.2.2 The RD1 project proposal process is undertaken by the PGR with guidance from the Director of Studies. The RD1 proposal will require the Director of Studies to confirm that they have provided advice to the PGR about the key requirements for good research governance and research data management, including research ethics and intellectual property, and confirm that the project as proposed by the PGR complies with these. PGRs will also be required to confirm that they have received this advice. 

PGR10.2.3 At each subsequent stage (eg progression examination and progress review stages 2 and 3), reviewers will check with the PGR that the research governance continues to be appropriate for the project, and compliant with University requirements for research data management and ethical approval.

PGR10.3 Research ethics

PGR10.3.1 All research involving human participants, their tissues or data requires ethical approval by the University's Research Ethics Committee (UREC) or one of its Faculty Research Ethics Committees (FRECs) in accordance with published procedures.

PGR10.3.2 Research that involves NHS or Social Care organisations, or involves human tissues, may also require review by an NHS REC or the Social Care REC.

PGR10.3.3 The RD1 proposal form includes a requirement to indicate whether the project will involve animals or human participants. It is the Director of Studies' responsibility to ensure that ethical approval is gained before the research begins. Failure to obtain ethics approval where it is a requirement may be regarded as research misconduct. Guidance about research ethics and how to apply for ethical approval is available via the UWE Bristol Research Ethics webpages.

PGR10.3.4 If the research involves children, young people or vulnerable adults, there are additional requirements for training in safeguarding. Guidance on this can also be found via the UWE Bristol Research Ethics webpages.

PGR10.4 Research data management

PGR10.4.1 The development of a research data management plan is a process begun at the start of the research project and revisited throughout the various stages of the research as appropriate. It outlines how all research data will be generated or collected, managed, stored and preserved, shared or disposed of and takes account of any access restrictions that are required e.g., to protect research participants, for ethical concerns, or reasons of commercial sensitivity etc. This is part of good research governance.

All researchers at UWE Bristol, including doctoral researchers via their Directors of Studies/project manager, must develop a research data management plan before collecting any data as part of research, or using any data for research. Deposition of data in a repository will, if the data management plan requires it, be mandatory for PGRs whose initial registration date falls on or after October 2021

PGR 10.4.2 The designated UWE Bristol project manager, who is normally the Director of Studies, is responsible for working with the PGR during their research studies to develop and maintain the research data management plan, ensuring that research data will be appropriately, and where necessary sensitively, dealt with.

Notes:

See the research data management resource within the University Research Governance webpages for further information.

The UWE Bristol Library provides online guidance about how to set up a research data management plan and what should be included in it. There is also a UWE Bristol research data management plan template available.

PGR10.4.3 Where a PGR publishes research during their doctoral registration (e.g., journal papers or other research outputs entering the public domain), the Directors of Studies should ensure that the associated research data is stored and/deposited in accordance with the research data management plan i.e., by depositing it on the UWE Bristol research data repository, or as agreed with external collaborators or funders. PGRs should also ensure that the complete core research data relating to their thesis is deposited upon submission and prior to graduating on the same basis. Data deposition will be mandatory for all PGRs registering on or after 1 October 2021.

 

PGR10-5 Restricting access to a thesis or core research data

Expectations about open access to research

PGR10.5.1 In the interests of supporting open access to research, the University does not normally restrict access to a thesis deposited on its research repository and will restrict access to core data underpinning that thesis for a maximum of two years. The University may also shorten or waive any normal restriction on access to core data entirely where this is appropriate. The University recognises however, that there may be instances where it would not be appropriate to share research data, or for reasons of sensitivity, to add it to a data repository.

PGR10.5.2 An agreed period of thesis restriction
Where RDAB has agreed to restrict access to the thesis this will normally be for a period of no more than two years from the date of the confirmation of the award. In exceptional cases, the University may restrict access for a longer period where it is deemed necessary.

Procedures for restricting access

PGR10.5.3 Any application to restrict access to a thesis (PGR10.5.1-2), or to restrict access to the underpinning core data for longer than two years (PGR10.5.1), should be made at RD1 stage, with appropriate supporting evidence. Applications will be considered by the Taught and Research Degrees Award Board (RDAB) on the recommendation of the Faculty Research Degrees Committee.

PGR10.5.4 Where the need to restrict access to a thesis or to core research data emerges at a subsequent stage of registration, or changes are needed to the approved period of restriction, exceptional application must be made to RDAB.

PGR10.5.5 RDAB will normally only approve an application to restrict access to a thesis or its core underpinning data on the following grounds:

  • to enable a patent to be lodged
  • to protect commercially sensitive material
  • to protect material that may be politically sensitive or has implications for national security
  • to protect the safety, physical or mental health of identified individuals where research data cannot be fully anonymised
  • where the candidate has not, despite ongoing and evidenced best efforts, been able to gain permission to include third-party copyrighted material without detrimental effect to the fabric of the thesis
  • where it can be clearly evidenced (e.g., written confirmation from publishers) that the candidate's opportunities to publish material from the thesis in the normal range of journals or other published outlets for that subject discipline will be significantly and detrimentally affected providing open access via the University's Research Repository, the British Library EThOS or other specified online service.

PGR10.5.6 Where RDAB decides that the nature of the candidate's work prevents the thesis or its core underpinning data from being made openly available in the library of the University via the Research Repository or, in the case of a PhD, via the British Library EThOS, or other specified online service, or in that of any collaborating establishment, then it will be retained by the University on restricted access immediately upon completion of the award for the time period approved. Subject to any requirements under the Freedom of Information Act (2002), it will only made available to those who were directly involved in the research during this time.

PGR10.6 Intellectual property

PGR10.6.1 The Director of Studies is responsible for providing guidance to the PGR on the application of the University’s policy on Intellectual Property (IP) (PDF) both with regard to the PGR’s own research study and outputs, and to the use of any third-party intellectual property within their thesis.

PGR10.6.2 Having received this advice, PGRs are responsible for compliance with the University’s policy on Intellectual Property within their research work and outputs. (See also Part 5 of this handbook, PGR personal conduct and expectations).

PGR10.6.3 The University’s intellectual property (IP) requirements with regard to individual PGRs are covered under the terms and conditions accompanying their initial offer. By signing the terms and conditions, PGRs are agreeing to these IP arrangements.

PGR10.6.4 Where the research project involves collaboration with other external bodies or organisations, or individuals employed by those organisations, any specific intellectual property requirements should be detailed in a letter of collaboration or contractual collaborative agreement. It is the Director of Studies’ responsibility to ensure that any such letter of collaboration/collaborative agreement is attached to the intellectual property proposal for consideration by the Faculty Research Degrees Committee (FRDC).

PGR10.6.5 Where there is a change in the project or supervision arrangements or the introduction of collaborative partners at any point subsequent to the RD1 approval process, it is the Director of Studies’ responsibility to ensure that the project remains compliant with the University’s intellectual property requirements.

For example, if an additional supervisor is added to the team who is employed by an external organisation and brings with them employer intellectual property requirements, then these must be clearly agreed in writing and should be notified to the Faculty Research Degrees Committee (FRDC) at the time the change of supervision is proposed.

PGR10.7 Third party copyright

PGR10.7.1 PGRs should be careful to copy extracts of published works (including diagrams and illustrations) within permitted limits, ensuring that they obtain any necessary permission and attribute these appropriate in their thesis/critical commentary. All third-party material is subject to copyright rules unless there is an explicit statement to the contrary. Copyright approval must be obtained regardless of whether a thesis/critical commentary is in electronic or printed format.

Advisory note: PGRs are advised to note that obtaining third party copyright permissions can be time consuming! Do not leave this to the last minute; use the online guidance provided by the UWE Bristol Library on including copyrighted material in your thesis (PDF), and investigate requirements while you are drafting not just before you submit your thesis. It is likely that you will need permission from the copyright holder before your thesis can be published on the Research Repository and it will delay the award of your degree if you do not obtain this.