Research Governance

We may tend to think of Research Governance as applying only to medical and scientific investigations. In fact when you start to look at the Research Governance pages on the central website it does contain a lot of references to medical trials. However, it is something that applies to all disciplines, Humanities included. Our research landscape is changing, and with an increase in public engagement, collaborative or interdisciplinary projects overlapping with the Social Sciences, medical humanities and the use of digital and web resources it is becoming increasingly important for Humanities facing researchers to be alert to the issues surrounding Research Governance.

The following is a brief summary of the need for Research Governance and links to important documents that all University research staff should be familiar with. However, if you have any questions or queries, please do feel free to speak to your School Ethics Officer and/or email

The Research Governance Framework document available online applies to all subject areas and to all members of staff and students involved in research at the University, including its staff and students conducting research outside the University as well as any persons not employed by the University but with permission to carry out research at the University (all referred to hereafter as Researchers).  This Research Governance Framework should be drawn to the attention of all Researchers.  All Researchers should be familiar with this Framework.  This Framework has been designed to encourage good conduct in research, assist Researchers to meet legal and ethical requirements and help prevent misconduct, in order to assist Researchers to conduct research of the highest quality.  Any breach of these guidelines may be grounds for disciplinary action.

All Researchers have a responsibility and a duty of accountability to society, to their profession, to the University and to the funders of the research, to accept full responsibility for the professionalism and integrity of all aspects of the conduct and publication of their research, and for the activities of any staff or students under their direction.  This extends to reporting conflicts of interest, actual or potential, or suspected misconduct, in the appropriate manner.  Researchers must also accept accountability for taking steps to ensure the safety of those associated with the research, the probity of the financial management of the research project, and for seeking to provide optimum value for the public or private funds invested in the project.  All legal and ethical requirements laid down by the University or any other properly authorised bodies must be observed.

The primary objective of research is the deepening and broadening of knowledge and understanding by expert, responsible and professional means, including the dissemination of results through publication, teaching, applied research and consultancy.

Research should also seek to meet the following additional objectives:

  1. the training of new Researchers in appropriate methods and professional standards of research;
  2. the promotion of the interests and benefits of research;

the securing of the exploitation of results for the public good and the benefit of the University and its members.

With regard to obtaining proper governance approval, it is important to understand the nature of the project Sponsor. In this case, this is not the financial sponsor (funding body) but the organisation that is responsible. In most instances this is Cardiff University

A sponsor takes responsibility for the ‘assessment of the quality of the research as proposed, the quality of the research environment within which the research will be undertaken and the experience and expertise of the principal investigator and other researchers involved. They are responsible for ensuring that arrangement are in place for the research team to access resources and support to deliver the research as proposed and that agreements are in place which specify responsibilities for for the management and monitoring of research. They are also responsible for ensuring that arrangements are in place to review significant developments as the research proceeds, particularly those that put the safety of individuals at risk, and to approve modifications to the design’