Preventing harm in research (safeguarding) - UoB policies

Report a concern

If you have come to harm through a research project, or are concerned for the safety of others, you can raise a concern to:

Staff members who wish to discuss a concern, in confidence, can contact an Acceptable Behaviour Supporter.

Students who need more information regarding complaints can refer to the Students' Union's Just Ask service.

Research misconduct policy and process

Any report of harm caused as a result of research activity will be managed in accordance with the University of Bristol's Research Misconduct Regulation (PDF, 262 KB). The definition of Research Misconduct in the Regulations includes:

  • "unethical behaviour in the conduct of research, for example in relation to research subjects", and
  • "deviation from good research practice, where this results in unreasonable risk of harm to humans, other animals or the environment"

The regulations cover the activities of anyone conducting research for or on behalf of the University:

These regulations apply to all members of the University involved in research. This will include staff and undergraduate and postgraduate students. It also applies to those who are not members of the University, but who are conducting research on the University’s premises, under the University’s auspices or using the University’s research facilities.

The regulations set out the manner in which complaints will be handled:

The University has a responsibility to investigate allegations of research misconduct fully and expeditiously... In the event that serious allegations are made, they will be referred to the Vice-Chancellor under the appropriate disciplinary regulations. The Vice-Chancellor may take immediate action under the disciplinary regulations, or, if the Vice-Chancellor considers it appropriate to do so, he or she may first appoint a panel to investigate the allegations...

The panel shall take all reasonable steps to preserve the anonymity of the person or persons accused and the person or persons making the allegation, unless this would compromise the investigation...

The panel shall require the production of such records as are necessary to enable the investigation to proceed and shall secure their safekeeping. The panel may interview the person or persons accused and the person or persons making the allegation, together with anyone else who may have relevant information...

The panel shall prepare a report setting out the evidence received, accounts of any interviews conducted and the panel's conclusions...

If the investigation has uncovered prima facie evidence of serious misconduct, then the matter shall be dealt with under the appropriate disciplinary procedures. Action may be taken in respect of members of staff under the Disciplinary Rules for Members of Staff and Disciplinary Procedure for Members of Staff. Action may be taken in respect of students suspected of research misconduct under the Student Disciplinary Regulations (PDF, 137kB) or Examination Regulations (PDF, 112kB).

Additional policies and procedures

If a member of staff, a student or someone associated with the University wishes to raise a concern, including anonymous reporting, regarding harm or improper management of risk, they can do so via the Whistleblowing Policy (PDF, 95kB).

Where relevant, DBS checks will be carried out in accordance with the Disclosure and Barring Service process.

For more information, the University Secretary's Office has a Legal and Compliance section with details about: Anti Corruption and Bribery, Code of Conduct, Register of Interests, Conflict of Interest, Counter Fraud, Export Control, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking and, of note, the Safeguarding Policy outlined.