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HREC is seeking new external members

Research is fundamental to the The Open University's (OU) mission to be ‘open to people, places, methods and ideas’ and is designed to have impact, influence policy and practice and change lives for the better.

We are looking for external members to join the OU Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). This an interesting opportunity to develop your knowledge of research ethics and play a valuable role in supporting research at The Open University. Committee members are responsible for assessing research ethics applications to ensure that the interests of research participants are protected and research is carried out in a fair and ethical manner. It is essential that the Committee maintains a diverse membership so a wide variety of research can be assessed. Therefore, we are looking for people from a wide range of backgrounds, and from all sections of the community (academics and people from other walks of life), who are interested in research and who are able to bring an independent perspective to research ethics review. You do not need to have specific experience, other than an interest in research and/or ethics issues.

We are particularly seeking reviewers who can bring perspectives from beyond the Higher Education sector:

  1. One or more health practitioners with professional registration
  2. One or more representatives from the commercial or non-academic sector
  3. Those who will enhance the committee's perspectives on participant diversity (with an open definition of diversity) or offer specific ethics expertise

The role

Each HREC member is part of a ‘virtual’ HREC Review Panel which assesses research ethics applications, to ensure ethics issues have been considered. HREC receives applications from OU academics and postgraduate research students on a weekly basis, and dependent on numbers received, each HREC member receives between two to four applications to review each month. Members also attend two formal HREC meetings each year, at which policy matters are discussed. Meetings are held in May and October.

The role is voluntary, but we will reimburse travel expenses for meeting attendance. An induction and an annual training session will be provided to all members.

Further information about HREC, and the research ethics review process, can be found on the Human Research Ethics website.

What you get in return

  • Learn about new areas of research
  • Develop your knowledge and understanding of research ethics
  • Work collaboratively with people from a wide range of backgrounds/disciplines
  • Gain experience of a formal University committee
  • Access to the OU library to support your research ethics review work

How to apply

Please send a copy of your CV and a brief personal statement (no more than 500 words) to the Research Ethics Team.

In your supporting statement, please include the following information:

  • Why you are interested in the role
  • Any relevant experience you have from a particular sector/field
  • Any relevant experience related to research/ethics
  • Any areas of special interest/expertise you have that might make a particular contribution to the work of the Committee (eg an interest in online research methods, research involving children)
  • Indicate which of the above perspectives 1-3 you consider you would contribute, with a rationale (feel free to refer to more than one category)

If you would like further information about the role, please contact Nicola Payne, Research Governance Manager.