Research topics and funders

Some funders’ requirements

Funders’ requirements generally relate to two concerns:

  • First, your proposal should include a statement about the ethics considerations posed by your research and how those will be addressed. Peer reviewers and referees are nearly always asked by funders to comment specifically on the ethics of the proposed study – this is certainly true for the research councils and big charitable funders such as Nuffield and JRF.
  • Second, most funders now have specific requirements about ethics approval and your proposal should state what ethics approval you will need and how you will obtain it. Most funders will not require you to secure ethics approval before you submit a proposal. Check what it is your funder requires.

This may seem obvious, but do not assume that your research does not raise ethics issues.  Nearly every study does raise questions about ethics that need to be thought about and addressed. In other words, never tick the box that says something like ‘no ethics dilemmas are raised by my study’. The ESRC, for example, requires that six key principles are addressed, as set out in their Framework for Research Ethics.