Powered by Ethics RM’s unique configurability and enhanced reporting tools, the University of Manchester is able to streamline internal processes and maintain compliance.

About the University of Manchester

Established in 1824, the University of Manchester is a member of the elite Russell Group of research-intensive British universities. With over 40,000 students, it is one of the largest universities in the UK. It is renowned globally for its pioneering research and innovations across many fields and it has a strong focus on translating its groundbreaking discoveries into real-world impact. Its research efforts are supported by extensive industry collaborations and one of the largest clinical trial portfolios in the country.

Challenge: Inefficient processes, limited visibility and compliance challenges

Historically, the University of Manchester relied on a cumbersome paper and email-based system for managing research ethics approvals. This manual approach created significant bottlenecks and frustrations:

  • Physical documents were difficult to track and retrieve
  • No centralised data source existed across the disjointed processes
  • Auditing reviews, ensuring compliance and adapting to new requirements was challenging

The university needed an ethics review system to enable oversight across all review workflows, the ability to audit processes and accommodate the university’s specific processes, while upholding compliance.

Strategic oversight and reporting tools to optimise review processes

Powered by Ethics RM, the University of Manchester continually enhances the efficiency of its ethics review process, reducing turnaround times for applicants. By leveraging the product's comprehensive overview of all applications, administrators can:

  • Quickly pinpoint bottlenecks in the review process
  • Take proactive measures to address issues, such as providing additional support to review panels experiencing delays
“With the data insights I gain from the platform, I can rapidly address emerging issues and make strategic interventions to reduce turnaround times.” Genevieve Pridham, Research Ethics Manager

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Another benefit the university has achieved is deeper insights through advanced reporting. Administrators identify efficient review panels and disseminate best practice across to all panels, further optimising turnaround times.With these enhanced strategic insights unlocked through Ethics RM, the University of Manchester has reduced turnaround times by 50%, streamlining their review processes and maximising resource efficiency.

"I now have greater view of our ethics review data, which is critical to me reporting KPIs to the senior leadership team." Genevieve Pridham, Research Ethics Manager

Enhanced configuration for optimised efficiency and user experience

Using Ethics RM’s intuitive configurability, the University has tailored workflows and forms to precisely meet its unique needs. These configurations have significantly improved the experience for all users while boosting operational efficiency, saving on average 17 working days across an ethics review.

"By configuring the product, we have been able to optimise our ethics review process to enhance collaboration and accelerate the time to approval." Genevieve Pridham, Research Ethics Manager

By integrating filter questions upfront and leveraging automated workflows, applications are seamlessly guided to the appropriate review streams. This setup minimises unnecessary ‘full’ ethics reviews, optimising resource allocation and improving time to approval.

"The automated routing we’ve configured inside of Ethics RM has been a real success for all users. It streamlines our applications helping us to avoid delays and keep users on top of their outstanding tasks, further optimising efficiency." Kate Hennessy, Research Governance Officer

Another key benefit has been using the product’s flexibility to facilitate ethical exemptions. A custom ‘decision tool’ empowers applicants to determine if they need an ethics review or not. Where exempt, users can request an exemption letter which the product auto-generates, providing an instant result for the applicant and saving valuable time for the administrative team.

Comprehensive audit trail supports compliance with UK Concordat

Ethics RM maintains a full audit log of all ethics reviews across the university. This centralised record enables the team to easily access relevant information, filter search results, and generate custom reports efficiently. With seamless access to university research data, the University of Manchester is now able to streamline compliance audits for demonstrating adherence to protocols such as the UK Concordat to Support Research Integrity.

"Ethics RM gives me seamless access to all the research data I need so when I have to report to external bodies, I can easily extract the precise information required to verify our compliance." Genevieve Pridham, Research Ethics Manager

Outcomes and looking ahead

Over the past 10 years, Ethics RM has empowered the University of Manchester with enhanced strategic oversight, powerful reporting tools, and highly configurable and tailored workflows, forms and automations to enhance research efficiency. With Ethics RM, the University of Manchester has achieved:

  • 50% reduction in turnaround time
  • 17 days saved per ethics application
  • 15 days saved for compliance audits
  • Streamlined and automated reviews across 14 different review panels
  • Significantly improved the user experience for applicants, reviewers and administrators

With the benefits the University of Manchester has experienced using Ethics RM in its research operations, the organisation is expanding the system’s use across 2 additional departments, further enhancing the university’s research operations and continuing to solidify the University of Manchester as a global leading research university.