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Submit a Study for Ethical Review

Trainees reviewing chart.

We are committed to promoting ethical research and ensuring all research carried out through RCPI is conducted according to best ethical practice

Our Research Ethics Committee ensures that all research carried out through RCPI is conducted according to best ethical practice.

It was established in line with the Irish Council for Bioethics’ 2004 guidance document, Operational Procedures for Research Ethics Committees.

The Committee meets four times a year to review research proposals from an ethical perspective.

We do not review clinical trials of medicinal products.

Trainee studying.

How to submit a research proposal for ethical review

Before you submit a research proposal for ethical review, please take time to:

When you are ready, download the Research Ethics Application Form and include a declaration and signature page.

Make sure you include the following documents with your application:

  • application form with a signed declaration
  • a participant study/information leaflet
  • invitation to participate letter
  • informed consent (if applicable)
  • questionnaire(s) (if applicable)
  • your current CV
  • evidence of previous ethical review (if applicable).

Please submit your application to us via email with any supporting documentation as a SINGLE document.

When to Submit

You should submit your application at least four weeks before the next Research Ethics Committee meeting.

If your research application has been submitted to another research ethics committee, make sure you include a copy of their response with your application.

Apply for ethical approval

Submit your completed Research Ethics Application Form and supporting documents

How the review process works

After your application for ethical approval is received, the process is as follows:

1. You will be invited to attend the review

After we’ve checked that your application has been submitted with all the required supplementary documentation, we will invite you to attend a Research Ethics Committee meeting. We encourage all researchers, including supervising researchers, to attend the meeting in person.

2. The review is carried out

Your application will be reviewed by each committee member before the meeting and their questions will be addressed to you on the day of your review.

3. The decision is made

The committee will make its decision. The five possible outcomes are:

  1. Favourable opinion
  2. Provisional favourable opinion - Request for further information or for specified conditions to be met. The response will be assessed by the Chair
  3. No opinion - Request for further information or for specified conditions to be met. The response will be assessed by the full Research Ethics Committee.
  4. No opinion, pending consultation with an external referee or expert
  5. Unfavourable opinion

We will let you know the outcome of your review within two weeks of your review date.

Our response to you will include:

  • a clear statement of the decision taken
  • details of any further information required and/or specified conditions to be met
  • reasons for an unfavourable opinion.

Responding to the decision

If the committee has asked for changes and/or additional information, you should submit your reply within 60 days from the date of first Research Ethics Committee response.

  • Category B responses (provisional favourable opinion) will be assessed by the Chair and replies will be sent within 15 working days.
  • Category C responses (no opinion) will be assessed by the full Research Ethics Committee at the next scheduled meeting and a response will be sent within two weeks of the meeting.
  • Category D responses (no opinions pending consultation) will include a time-scale for a response.

Your research should not start until a final communication has been sent by the Research Ethics Committee Chair.

Members of the RCPI Research Ethics Committee

Our Research Ethics Committee consists of:

  • committee Chair - Dr Una Fallon, Public Health Specialist
  • a member with training in ethics (e.g. ethicist, philosopher, theologian)
  • a member with a qualification in Law
  • a member with training in statistics
  • one or two lay members
  • a member with knowledge of, and current experience in, the professional care, counselling or treatment of people (e.g. nurse, medical practitioner, clinical psychologist, as appropriate).

RCPI REC Meeting Dates for 2021 w

  1. Wednesday 10 March 2021 (Submission Deadline: Friday 12 February 2021)
  2. Wednesday 9 June 2021 (Submission Deadline: Friday 14 May 2021)
  3. Wednesday 8 September 2021 (Submission Deadline: Friday 13 August 2021)
  4. Wednesday 24 November 2021 (Submission Deadline: Friday 29 October 2021)

National Research Ethics Committee for COVID-19

A new temporary, dedicated National Research Ethics Committee for COVID-19 research studies aimed at delivering rigorous yet expedited review for all COVID-19 related research studies has been established.

The NREC-COVID19 will review applications for CTIMPs and CIMDs as well as all other research considered to be COVID19-related.

Contact Us

If you want more information about any of our research projects or would like to get involved with research in the RCPI, contact us below

Dr Lucia Prihodova

Manager, Research Department

Tel: +353 1 863 9645

Dr Lucia Prihodova is the Research Manager at the at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Lucia holds a PhD from the Faculty of Medicine at University of Groningen, Netherlands and her research focuses on various aspects of health systems related to work environment, workforce training and wellbeing and patient outcomes.  

RCPI Research

Tel: +353 1 863 9700