Local Research Ethics Committees

A network of research ethics committees (RECs) across the country are responsible for reviewing and providing ethics approval for health research applications in different settings. Some RECs are part of a particular organisation, such as a hospital or a university, while others have a regional remit.

NRECs work alongside these local RECs in a mixed model system of research ethics review to support the spectrum of health research in Ireland. We aim to be a partner to local RECs, supporting their work by adding efficiency and cohesion to the system of ethics review in Ireland.

The HSE R&D team has established a working group to focus on the reform of the HSE research ethics committee system. This reform will enable the future alignment with the NREC system and integration with local governance structures. For further information please contact HSE.REC@hse.ie.

NRECs and local RECs have distinct remits: NRECs are responsible for reviewing and providing ethics approval for research applications in a limited number of specifically defined areas (visit our Committees pages for more details on each NREC’s remit). For research proposals of any other kind, it is local RECs who are responsible for review and approval.

It should be noted that in the case of clinical trials, a number of ‘recognised RECs’ review applications that fall under the remit of NREC-CT. The majority of these RECs have agreed to run concurrently with NREC-CT for the first six months of the NREC’s operation.

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