The University requires all research including face-to-face participant interaction to make changes to how those interactions are conducted.

Researchers must consider how their research could be adapted to conduct participant interactions remotely. If this is not possible then research must be put on hold. You may consider using an online platform for these interactions, the University supports the use of Microsoft Teams for this.

The University has temporarily suspended the requirement for approval of amendments that relate only to changes to participant interactions from face-to-face to remote, this applies only in cases there the change does not constitute a substantial change to the project as a result.

A substantial change to a research project might be a change that alters the potential risk of harm to participants e.g. if your research discusses traumatic issues it may be difficult to detect distress in the participants via a remote method and the ability to refer the participants to an appropriately trained person.

Do you need to pause your research?

If your research is being placed on hold you must, where possible, inform your participants. Especially with actively enrolled participants regarding how they will be managed, safety monitoring and follow ups.

Unless the changes made to put the study on hold constitutes a substantial change to the research project then halting the research and the issuing of an update to participants will not need to be considered as an amendment.

New applications for ethics clearance

Researchers may continue to submit applications for ethical approval and reviews will continue to be conducted. However, as will be made clear on your outcome letter you are not permitted to begin data collection that requires any face-to-face interactions with participants until further notice.

Further information is available on the research ethics and integrity webpages. Any queries please contact the Research Integrity and Governance Team ethics@stir.ac.uk