Face to Face Human Research

Information reviewed and updated on 12th Jauuary 2022


The UCD Covid 19 Human Research Ethics Risk Assessment Template must be completed by all Principal Investigators for work involving face to face contact between researchers and research subjects. In this context face to face contact is defined as any research that requires researchers to be physically in the presence of research subjects irrespective of whether physical contact takes place. 

At all times the aim should be to remove or reduce the need to engage in face to face activity in order to reduce the risk from Covid 19.

This form must be completed by new applicants seeking ethical approval and by those already approved to engage in research.  

Note that this risk assessment template is only designed to address the risks from Covid 19. It does not remove the need to complete risk assessments for other hazards associated with the research, such as sample collection, travel, etc. 


Reducing Risk

Research subjects in higher risk groups must be protected from the risk of Covid 19, and in some cases certain persons may be unsuitable as research subjects given their Covid 19 risk status. If there is any doubt research subjects should be advised to obtain their own medical advice.

In general persons in higher risk groups may take part in research if the risk of doing so is no greater than the risk of shopping in the local supermarket, or social distancing in the streets, parks, and countryside. Risk can be managed by using physical controls such as PPE, screens, etc. Risks can also be managed using procedural controls, for example by updating participant information sheets, updating screening questionnaires to take account of Covid 19, obtaining new / updated participant consent if deemed necessary, providing additional researcher training, etc.  


Researchers With Existing Approval

If you have already received ethical approval for your research you do not need to reengage with the ethical approvals process unless you are making an amendment to your original application, in which case you will have to apply for an amendment approval as normal.

Researchers with existing ethical approval should complete this template, identifying Covid 19 risk control measures to ensure both researcher and participant safety, and confirm that they believe their research is safe to continue.

In particular they should pay attention to the suitability of research subjects, the use of physical protection measures, limiting the nature of face to face contact, updating participant screening questionnaires and information sheets and whether or not an updated subject consent is required.

Researchers should contact sirc@ucd.ie for advice if the risk rating arrived at is ‘moderate’ or above.


New Applicants

Applicants seeking ethical approval for the first time should complete this Risk Assessment Template and forward it to sirc@ucd.ie in tandem with their ethics application.