The Concordat to Support Research Integrity recommends that institutions should make an annual statement on research integrity, which is publicly available. Aston University is committed to the highest standards of research integrity and compliance with the Concordat. In accordance with the recommendation that an annual statement on research integrity is made this statement provides details of activities undertaken to enhance research integrity within the University during 2021.

Summary of actions and activities undertaken to support research integrity

Directors of Research from Colleges and Research Ethics Committee Chairs support a positive culture of research integrity at College/School level. Committees such as the Human Tissue Oversight Group and the Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Board (AWERB), provide oversight for high-risk areas. Research integrity activities at the University are overseen and coordinated by the Research Integrity Committee.

Resource Allocation

A Research Ethics Officer post was approved for recruitment in 2022. This post will specifically support the ethics review and approvals processes for PGR students and staff within our Colleges.

University Research Ethics Committees

This year a project board was set up to undertake a review of our ethics application processes. Updated terms of reference for College Research Ethics Committees and a new application form were drafted, for institutional approval, with a view to these being used across the institution from Spring 2022. Further, a review of our University Research Integrity Committee and University Research Ethics Committee was undertaken with a view to implementing further improvements to enhance their work.

Research with Human Tissue

Human tissue research is conducted in accordance with the Aston University Quality Manual: Acquisition, Storage, Use and Disposal of Human Tissue. The Quality Manual was reviewed and updated in 2021 following a change of Designated Individual. An internal audit of our research projects using relevant material will take place in 2022.


Our research integrity webpages were reviewed in 2021; a redesign of the pages, plus additional content, will be live in spring 2022. These new pages will provide clearer resources and guidance for all colleagues on matters of research integrity and will act as the only space where all information is held and regularly updated.

Subscribers of UKRIO

Aston University committed to becoming subscribers to the UK Research Integrity Office and this will be formalised in early 2022.


A revised suite of in-house training on research integrity, governance and ethics is being designed for roll-out in the 22/23 academic year. We are also exploring the purchase of online training to be available to staff and colleagues alongside bespoke in-house training.

Colleagues within the integrity office have continued to deliver training on research integrity as well as host regular ethics drop-in sessions. Training on research data management was also delivered across all three Colleges in collaboration with colleagues in the library. Completion of the MRC’s “Research and Human Tissue Legislation” online training and associated assessment module remains a mandatory requirement for all researchers working with human tissue.

Statement on formal research misconduct investigations

One formal research misconduct investigation was undertaken during 2021 and no evidence of research misconduct was found.

Further information

Further information about research integrity at Aston University is available from Becky Case, Research Integrity and Governance Manager.

Professor Simon Green, Pro-Vice Chancellor Research, Aston University, May 2022