GEO Ethics Review Procedure

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Apply for ethics review with the GEO Ethics Committee
Go to UT Ethics Review App

about the research ethics review procedure

This procedure has been implemented to identify and assess potential ethical issues of research conducted within the geosciences domain. It is strongly recommended that all students and staff conducting research within this domain, particularly those involving (directly or indirectly) human participants, submit their research for ethical assessment. This ethical review process is also recommended for research:

  1. Using or developing (geo)artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML)
  2. Using or creating (through data aggregation) potentially sensitive data on humans
  3. With potential dual use (e.g., military applications)

The ethics review process takes around 15-20 working days. Given the potential for iterative processes in the ethics review, we recommend researchers submit their applications 6-8 weeks before commencing their research activities (e.g., fieldwork, data collection, code development, etc.). This timeframe allows for any necessary iterations and ensures a smoother review process. Submissions close to or during the committee's yearly holiday periods (July 24 – August 21/December 15 – January 15) will have to account for this time in addition to average reviewing time. 

If you have questions either concerning the ethics questionnaire or the procedure, please get in touch with us at

Review Procedure Step-by-Step

If you plan to apply for an ethics review through the UT Ethics Review Web Application, please follow the outlined procedure below:

  1. The main researcher responsible for designing or implementing the most significant part of the research project must complete the GEO ethics committee's questionnaire.
  2. Go to the UT Ethics Review Tool web application and sign in using your UT account.
  3. Fill in the three core sections of the ethics questionnaire. These are a) introduction (e.g., supervisor, research start/end dates, title), b) the domain-specific questionnaire, and c) the closing section. 
  4. When you are asked to select a committee, choose the GEO ethics committee if your research involves a 'geospatial' related component. If uncertain about which committee is most suitable for your research, contact us at for guidance. Other domain committees include HSS (human and social sciences), NES (health research and biotech), and CIS (computer information systems). 
  5. You can save your request and return to it later using the 'Save' or 'Next' buttons. To access it again, go to 'My Requests' on your main screen.
  6. If you are an MSc student or a PhD candidate, remember your supervisor will be the first to receive your request upon submission. Inform them to be aware of this and provide timely feedback. This will speed up your process.
  7. If your research involves human participants, section three of the GEO ethics committee's questionnaire will prompt you to upload research information leaflets, participant consent forms, and third-party consents (if applicable).
  8. You can upload supplementary material to provide better context to the reviewer(s) at the end of section three of the GEO ethics committee's questionnaire. This material can be, but is not limited to, research design protocol, interviews/focus group scripts, drafts of surveys, etc.
  9. For any technical difficulties in completing the questionnaire, contact
  10. After submitting your application, you will receive follow-up emails during the different phases of the reviewing process. These emails may include requests for modifications from your supervisor or the committee reviewer. If you receive these emails, revisit your submission, make necessary changes, and (re)submit the questionnaire.
  11. Once your request is reviewed, you will receive a notification email. Visit your submission in the web application to access the advice in PDF form, containing a reference ID and compiling positive advice, your submission, and comments from your supervisor and the reviewer. 


If your research undergoes significant changes after the initial ethical review or if new research activities are introduced, you are required to seek further ethical advice from the GEO Ethics Committee in accordance with responsible research principles.

In this situation, please follow these steps:

  1. Prepare an amendment letter that includes the reference number of the previous ethics advice.
  2. Email the amendment letter to The letter should provide detailed information about the changes to the research design and, if necessary, include supplementary documentation that committee members may need to evaluate the modifications.
  3. The committee will assess whether the provided information is sufficient or if a new submission is required. If a new submission is necessary, you will be notified, and we recommend following the steps outlined in the previous section of this website for applying for ethics review.

Guiding/Support Material for Users of the UT Ethics Review Web Application


This is a demonstration PDF of the questions in the UT Ethics Review web application and the informative notes accompanying each question for use when preparing the answers in advance.


This is an end-user manual for the UT Ethics Review web application for all users' roles, including researcher, supervisor, secretary, and reviewer.


UT Ethics Review web application Tutorial