Process, governance and ethics

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Research review process

All research proposals undergo a review process to ensure all research that is conducted or supported by Guide Dogs is scientifically and ethically sound, is of relevance to our strategy and current research priority areas, and is considered value for money.

This review process includes internal and external academics and subject matter experts, external ethical review committees and an external Research Advisory Committee. 

Research Ethics Committee and ethical policy

A robust research ethics structure and process ensures that all primary research undertaken by Guide Dogs in-house team is ethically sound. Research is conducted according to a strict policy of application and reviewed by two, independent, Research Ethics Committees (REC); one dedicated to canine science, and one dedicated to human behavioural sciences. The core remit of these RECs is to ensure the safety, rights, and wellbeing of participating people, dogs and our researchers.

Reviewers provide a critical evaluation to ensure research activities adhere to the highest ethical principles and standards as recognised by academic, regulatory and animal welfare sectors. REC membership consists of lay people, technical experts and academics. In the interest of independence, members do not have any connection to the research programme or team. 

Guide Dogs’ human behavioural sciences does not include methodologies based on medical or pharmacological intervention. 

Guide Dogs does not fund or undertake invasive testing on animals. 

Applying to collaborate with Guide Dogs on a research study

We welcome applications from external researchers to collaborate on projects. Before applying please note the following:

  • All projects must relate to the Guide Dogs’ research programme objectives. 
  • Completed applications will be reviewed at quarterly meetings and should be received by the first Friday of February, May, August and November for consideration. Any amendments will be requested within four weeks. A final decision will be communicated within eight weeks.

If you wish to apply to collaborate on a student project please also note:

  • We welcome research applications at post-graduate level or above. We are unable to support undergraduate projects.
  • We are able to support four canine science student projects per year (two related to canine health and two related to canine behaviour).
  • We are able to support two human behavioural sciences student projects per year.

External projects should have received approval in principle by their relevant faculty ethics committee prior to submitting an application.

Find out more about our research

For queries relating to specific pieces of research, collaborating with us on a research study, or to request further information on our ethical policy, process and procedures, please contact us.

If you would like to discuss a grievance relating to a specific piece of research, please see our Customer Feedback and Complaints Policy