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Ethics Review Panel appoints new chair to lead research review process

31 January 2024

An RCVS subcommittee has appointed a new chair to help steer its mission to help practice-based researchers gain access to ethics review for clinical veterinary research project applications.

Our Ethics Review Panel (ERP) provides an ethics review mechanism to researchers who are based in practice and so may not have access to this process through university and industry connections. Since its formation as a trial service in 2016, the ERP has reviewed more than 530 research proposals on our behalf, providing detailed feedback on the regulations and best practice associated with research.

Having been led since its trial period by David Morton MRCVS CBE, Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Science and Ethics at the University of Birmingham, the ERP has now welcomed Nicola Menzies-Gow FRCVS, Professor in Equine Medicine at the Royal Veterinary College, as its new chair.

Picture of Nicola Menzies Gow FRCVS, new chair of the Ethics Review Panel Speaking of her appointment Professor Menzies-Gow (pictured) said: “I am honoured to be offered this position. Having been a member of RCVS ERP for the past three years and undertaking a similar role as the Chair of the Clinical Research Ethical Review Board at the Royal Veterinary College, I felt that I had the right expertise to take on the role.

“It is vitally important that all research, regardless of where it is undertaken, undergoes ethical review to ensure that robust results are produced especially when they have the potential to influence clinical practice, and so I really welcome the work the ERP has been undertaking.

“As chair of the ERP I hope to build on the success of my predecessor and continue to support those working in clinical practice that is not associated with a university to undertake valuable research and add to the body of evidence that supports our clinical decision-making.”

Having led the subcommittee since its inception, Professor David Morton spoke about the ethos of the ERP and how it works, saying: “I have been privileged to be a member of the Ethics Review Panel and to be its chair, and have learned much from my fellow reviewers. They certainly have made my job easier. I have always tried to ensure that the ERP maintains the highest standards whilst not disheartening the applicants by its reviews.

“Consequently, we often ask for numerous clarifications rather than providing a flat rejection for poor applications. In order to pursue this aim, I frequently edit reviews and try to provide practical help and guidance for applicants in their drafting, for example of Information Sheets and Consent Forms.

“I am most grateful to the RCVS, not least for providing important and essential secretarial and clerical services that enable us to achieve our goals.”

The ERP has representation across a range of areas of veterinary expertise, including veterinary nursing, and also includes lay researchers and scientists. This ensures that it can review a wide range of different research projects, with a wide range of areas of knowledge and perspectives.

Find out more about the ERP, including how to submit a research proposal for review, visit the ERP's dedicated webpage. at

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