Cranfield University Research Ethics

cranfield university logo

Cranfield University Research Ethics

Research Ethics Policy

CU-RIO-POL-2.0 – V3

Cranfield takes its obligation to all its stakeholders to observe and maintain the highest ethical standards very seriously. These standards are embraced by the University and enacted by all its members. They include the Seven Principles of Public Life (the Nolan Principles) of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. These principles inform every aspect of University operations by staff, students and lay governors, and create the culture of academic freedom necessary for first-class research and education in line with the University’s objectives which are to:

  • advance, disseminate and apply learning, knowledge and understanding with particular emphasis on the disciplines of the Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Management; and
  • promote and encourage the transformation and application of that wisdom, knowledge and learning for the benefit of industry, the public services, and individuals and for the wider public benefit.

Helping students to acquire a sense of professional and personal ethics in their work is an important part of the educational process the University offers.

The Cranfield University Ethics Policy supports all members of the University in meeting these standards. Practices relevant to particular areas of activity (for instance teaching or research) and particular members of the University (for instance students or staff) will vary in specific application, however the core principles will always apply.

Professional Conduct

All members of the University shall seek to conduct their work in a professional manner to the benefit of all the communities that the University seeks to serve. More specifically, they will not claim knowledge, competence or qualifications they do not possess. In their work members will (i) avoid harm to anyone, and (ii) where conflicts between professional positions arise, members will seek to resolve these with integrity. Integrity implies not merely honesty but fair dealing and truthfulness.


In its teaching the university will endeavour to:

  • Seek to bring all its knowledge to the design, delivery and assessment of all its teaching programmes;
  • Describe clearly and appropriately the level and content of all courses;
Updated: 2016-09-14 1


  • Recruit and admit only such students who are believed, by those admitting them, to be appropriately qualified, willing to study diligently, and able to satisfactorily complete, the course;
  • Not discriminate on the basis of the student’s source of funding, or race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, religious views, sexuality, disability, marital status or other academically irrelevant factors;
  • Adhere to the provisions of legislation set out in The Equality Act 2010.
  • Assess fairly and honestly all students and maintain honest feedback to students concerning their progress;
  • On completion of the course describe honestly and fairly the student’s performance on the course.


The University has a Research Integrity Policy Statement and has adopted Universities UK’s “The Concordat to Support Research Integrity” and upholds its principles. There is a University Ethics Committee (CUREC) which will oversee ethical research practices and review proposals for research which involve human participants or that potentially raise various ethical issues.

In their research all staff and students will seek to:

  • Maintain professional standards including honesty and integrity;
  • Properly document results;
  • Evaluate critically results;
  • Attribute honestly the contributions of others;
  • Wherever possible report all results openly, though bearing in mind the University’s commercial considerations, sponsors’ needs for confidentiality or other good reasons;
  • Ensure all research studies gain ethical approval through the Cranfield University Research Ethics System (CURES) prior to commencement;
  • Adhere to The Equality Act 2010

In addition all staff will endeavour to:

  • Educate and develop themselves, colleagues and students to an understanding of good research practice;
  • Secure and store relevant primary data in accordance with the Data Protection Act (dates should be included in paper copy files).


In its administration the University will seek to:

  • To deal promptly, honestly and fairly with all stakeholders;
  • To ensure that just, equitable, timely and open discussions are made and communicated.


In its consultancy the University will seek to:

  • Only offer consultancy and advice within the area of the consultant’s knowledge and expertise;
  • Maintain the highest professional standards including honesty and openness;
  • At all times respect client confidentiality, unless expressly permitted by the client to divulge details.


Students will seek to:

  • Abide by the Student Charterwhich represents a shared understanding of the role, rights and responsibilities of an individual student;
  • Observe the University’s Codes of Practice and Policy Statements including that on Free


  • Conduct themselves in a positive manner which neither brings discredit on the University nor harm to its members.

Implementation of the Policy

These principles should govern the conduct of each member of the University. Whilst the Principles apply to all activities, there are in addition a number of areas where more detailed ethical principles and practices have been set out; these include inter alia the University’s Senate Handbooks, Financial Manual and the General Student Handbook.

Additional Information

These are useful sources of additional information about ethics. This list will be updated from time to time. The University is not responsible for the content of these websites.

Bew P (2014) Ethics in Practice: Promoting Ethical Conduct in Public Life, Committee on Standards in Public Life (July 2014)

Association for Research Ethics – (AfRE) promotes excellence in ethical research in human beings.

British Psychological Society – a primary source of advice on ethical research practice providing guidelines and protocols.

Data Protection Act – controls how your personal information is used by organisations, businesses or the government.

Ethics in Research and Publication – collaboration of an independent panel of experts in research and publishing ethics and Elsevier.

The Research Ethics Guidebook – this is designed as a resource for social science researchers – those early in their careers, as well as more experienced colleagues.

Institute of Business Ethics – encourages high standards of business behaviour based on ethical values.

Updated: 2016-09-14 3

Document control

Document title   Research Ethics Policy    
Document number CU-RIO-POL-2.0    
Originator name/document owner Professor Tom Stephenson    
Professional Service Unit/Department Research and Innovation Office    
Implementation/effective date 15 September 2016    
Approval by and date Research Committee, 14 September 2016  
Date of last review and version number 7 September 2015, Version 2    
Date of next review November 2017    
Name   Professor Tom Stephenson    
Title   Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation  
Document Review          
Version Amendment     By Date  
Content (table Updated with new brand.     M.Everitt 14.9.16