Ethics Review Panel


Role of the Panel

The RCVS Ethics Review Panel (ERP) will run for a one-year trial from the end of July 2016 and provide a mechanism of ethical review for practice-based researchers, who may not normally have access to such through university or industry connections.

The trial has come about following a joint working party established by the RCVS and BVA, which reported on ethical review of practice-based research in the UK. The report of the working party indicated that an increasing amount of clinical research is being conducted by vets based in private practice. Unlike those based in veterinary schools and institutes, private practitioners may not be so familiar with the regulations and best practice associated with research, particularly with reference to ethical review. One of the key recommendations of the report, therefore, was that the RCVS should consider establishing a committee for ethical review of practice-based research.

Ideally, researchers are advised to develop a relationship with veterinary institutes so as to be able to submit research proposals to the ethical review committees of those institutes. The aim of the trial will be to provide ethical review to veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses who wish to undertake practice-based research but would not normally have access through these mechanisms.

Consideration will be limited to research projects involving cats and/or dogs for the year, with the possibility of expanding to other species if the trial is extended or made permanent. The Panel will start considering research proposals from 1 August 2016.

The trial has been endorsed by the BVA, BSAVA and BVNA, the latter two offering to provide mentors to assist veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses respectively and to provide guidance on planning and structuring research projects prior to submitting ideas for ethical review.


Submitting a research proposal 

Guidelines for submitting a research proposal for ethical approval, along with an application form can be downloaded from the 'Related documents' box.



  • Miss Zoe Belshaw MRCVS

  • Mrs Alison Devonshire RVN

  • Mrs Caroline Freedman BEM BSc(Hons) MRPharmS (Lay member)

  • Miss Carol Gray MRCVS

  • Dr Richard Mellanby MRCVS

  • Prof David Morton CBE MRCVS (Chair)

  • Mr Malcolm Ness FRCVS






Queries regarding the ERP, its work and proposals for consideration should be directed to