Ethical Review Group

Who are we?

The AVA Ethical Review Group was established following the Nottingham AVA meeting in April 2014 and comprises a group of AVA members who expressed an interest in supporting the ethical review of clinical research studies carried out by AVA members. The group is currently chaired by Jo Murrell (University of Bristol) and Louise Clark (Davies Veterinary Specialists), but chairmanship and membership of the group is anticipated to change with time to ensure a rolling membership structure. Click here to read a brief bio about the different group members. As well as the core membership of the group we may co-opt members from different countries to advise on specific legal aspects relevant to the country from where a specific application originates.

What is the aim of the committee?

Every research study should undergo ethical appraisal before it commences as a fundamental element of good research practice. To learn more about why ethical appraisal is essential for every research study click here. Furthermore scientific journals demand that research studies have been granted ethical approval to allow publication, therefore not having ethical approval will likely be a barrier to publication of your data. It is recognised that although universities offer a mechanism for ethical review through “in house” ethical review groups, obtaining ethical review can be more difficult for people working outside of the university, for example if you are working in private practice. The AVA ethical review group is designed to fill this gap and offer a means to obtain ethical review of a study if you are not working within the university environment. It is mainly intended to appraise clinical research studies because more invasive experimental studies usually require local governmental approval (e.g. Home Office License in the UK).

How do you seek ethical approval from the AVA Ethical Review Group?

You can complete the application form for ethical review and send it to

Non-AVA members will have to pay a fee to their application to be processed using our service payment page.

Ethical approval cannot be granted retrospectively – please make sure that you apply for ethical approval before your start your study. Please also note that you will be asked, as part of the application process to declare that you have not previously sought ethical review from another review group or, if you have, to explain why you are not resubmitting to the same review group.

What happens then?

Your application will be considered in confidence by the ethical review group. If it appears from your application that it would be more logical for you to obtain ethical review from another institution, then we will ask you to justify your decision in seeking approval from the AVA group instead.
You can expect to hear from us within 4 weeks with the outcome of the review. If the committee decide that it is unable to grant approval for your study in its present form we are prepared to consider resubmission of an application if it is clear how your study design has changed substantially since the last review.


Please email if you have any questions about the process.