The University of Edinburgh currently deals with around 6,500 ethics applications every year and around 100 internal reviewers, this number does not include a handful of external reviewers.

It is anticipated that this figure will rise and it should be noted that due to the increase in research projects that not every undergraduate project undergoes the ethics processes.

The university lacks a single over-arching ethics management process which results in inefficient and inconsistent processes being adopted and followed throughout the organisation.

There are strong recommendations from the business community that a single research ethics system would be beneficial to the organisation, not limited to the following:

  • Implementing consistent business processes
  • Implementing an ethics approval tool for all research projects
  • Centralised reporting across all research projects within the UoE

Within the Worktribe application a simple ethics checklist exists which does provide simple compliance however it does not address wider complex institutional requirements that are required to record ethical approval for research projects or ensure adequate and auditable workflow exists for the purposes of gaining ethical approvals.

There are a number of leading tools in the marketplace, for example Infonetica's Ethics Review Manager, that will not only allow UoE to implement a single system to manage this process but a system that provides the functionality capable of meeting the complex institutional requirements.


The scope of this project has been defined as the following:

  • Definition of the functional/business requirements for ITT
  • ITT documentation
  • Procurement exercise to acquire an ethics tool
  • Implementation of the ethics system
  • Integration of the ethics system with EASE
  • Integration of the ethics system with Worktribe
  • Testing the Ethics tool and business processes adopted by the University
  • Testing of the integration between the ethics tool, EASE and the Worktribe application

Objectives / Deliverables






 Procurement of an Ethics tool




  Business requirements specification


 IS Apps / RIS / RSO / Dev Tech     

          D1.2   Procurement strategy and ITT documentation             IS Apps / RSO / Procurement / 
          D1.3        Ethics tool selected    RSO / Procurement
 O2   Implementation of Ethics tool    
          D2.1   Delivery/Implementation of Ethics system
 IS Apps / RIS / RSO
          D2.2   Complete functional testing of Ethics system
 IS Apps / RIS / RSO
          D2.3   Complete integration/interface testing between ethics system and Worktribe     


 IS Apps / RIS / RSO / Worktribe / Supplier 

          D2.4   Complete integration/interface testing between ethics system and EASE
 IS Apps / RIS / RSO / Worktribe / Supplier
 O3   Reporting Module  MUST  
         D3.1   Delivery of reports and reporting module    RIS / RSO / Supplier



The benefits for this project are as follows:

  • Implementation of consistent ethics processes - estimated £50,000 benefit realisation over four years
  • Simplification of reporting across the University - estimated £50,000 benefit realisation over four years
  • An increase in applications handled (extending to UG projects)  will implement a more stringent and sound process

Success Criteria

  • Ethics system that meets the business requirements is successfully procured
  • Ethics system integrates with Worktribe application successfully
  • Ethics system allows simplified workflow for review and approval of applications
  • Reporting on ethics applications is implemented and reported successfully

Project Milestones

Target Datesort descending Title
08-Jun-2018 Project Start
13-Jul-2018 Project planning complete
24-Aug-2018 Business Analysis Complete
23-Oct-2018 ITT Responses returned
29-Nov-2018 ITT Evaluation Complete
08-Feb-2019 Procurement Complete
12-Apr-2019 Build & Configure Complete (DEV)
10-May-2019 Acceptance Complete (TEST)
16-May-2019 Deployment Complete
30-May-2019 DSOR
13-Jun-2019 Project Closure Complete


Project Info

Ethics Tool Procurement
Research Information Systems (RIS)
Management Office
Project Manager
Karen Stirling
Project Sponsor
Lorna Thomson
Current Stage
Project Classification
Start Date
Planning Date
Delivery Date
Close Date
Overall Priority