Re-starting Face-to-Face Research

On behalf of Saniyah Testa, Director, Research & Innovation Services and Matt Purcell, Director, Health & Safety

Just as we have planned and implemented the re-opening of campus facilities to enable laboratory research to resume, we now turn to human-facing research paused due to Government restrictions on lockdown/ social distancing etc.

Research which cannot be conducted remotely and which requires face-to-face interaction will be able to re-start in a managed way, subject to conditions to ensure the health and safety of everyone concerned being met. Your health and safety remain our top priority.

Working closely with colleagues across the University, guidelines have been provided to help you assess what needs to be done. 

Step 1: Read the Guidance for restarting face-to-face research.

Step 2: Safety measures to accommodate Covid-19 need to be considered via a Health & Safety risk assessment.  The risk assessment and any mitigating actions need to be approved by your Line Manager, Supervisor, or Health & Safety Advisor as appropriate.

Step 3: If your research involves travel, be aware of the latest Travel advice for domestic and international travel.

Step 4: Consider the ethical approval routes below:

  • Ethical approval for restarting research involving face-to-face human participation

If research has previously received a Favourable Ethical Opinion (FEO) but was suspended due to Covid-19, and you now wish to restart, you will need to submit an amendment form to the University Ethics Committee (UEC).  See ‘Notification of amendment form v3.0_27Jul2020’ under Ethics/ Section 5: Templates on the RIGO website.

  • Ethical approval for restarting research using human participants with no face-to-face interaction.

If no face-to-face participation is necessary, and ethical approval was already in place, no amendment needs to be submitted for this change.

  • All Ethics amendments need to be submitted with an approved Health & Safety risk assessment as per Step 2 above and specified on the amendment form.
  • Ethical approval priority

Each Faculty has established a ‘Priority list’ for re-starting research using human participants with three levels of priority. To help with the flow of ethical approvals and to avoid delays, the following periods for submitting an Ethics amendment should be followed:

  • Priority studies (Wave 1) – August and September 2020;
  • 2nd Priority studies (Wave 2) – October 2020; and
  • 3rd Priority studies (Wave 3) – November 2020.

Please bear with us as we work through this together to get your research re-started. If you have any immediate questions or concerns, please note the general COVID-19 FAQs, or for more project specific enquiries, contact

This information is also available for students on the MySurrey webpages.