The Research Ethics Committee (REC) considers ethical issues related to research and research-related activities brought to its attention by the academic schools, researchers, staff and the wider RCSI community.
The aim of the RCSI REC is to ensure the highest standards of conduct in our research and to support staff in pursuing this goal.
The REC also acts in an educational and advisory role regarding ethical aspects of research in order to promote best practice in research conducted throughout the RCSI.
- All research projects conducted by or through RCSI must have ethical approval by the REC or another legitimate approval mechanisms before they can commence.
- Without approval, the University will consider the responsible staff member to have acted without the use of appropriate safeguarding mechanisms and will not be responsible for ethical difficulties arising from the conduct of the research project in question.
- Most research conducted through the University already meets stringent ethical committee approval standards through mechanisms such as hospital ethics committees. The University's REC does not intend to duplicate the work of these committees and will review only those projects not already covered by such mechanisms.
Responsibility for the ethical design, review and conduct of human research is exercised at many levels. While the processes of ethical review are important, individual researchers and the institutions within which they work hold primary responsibility for ensuring that their research is ethically acceptable.
Activities that require ethics approval:
- Student projects at both undergraduate or postgraduate level
- Staff projects
- Findings that will be reported or published externally
Activities that do not require ethics approval:
- Audits or end-of-course evaluations of teaching programmes delivered in RCSI (e.g. questionnaires to test current course content, or ask for comments regarding possible changes).
- Findings which will not be reported or published externally
Please do not assume that you do not require ethical approval. In cases where there is uncertainty about whether a project is audit or research please contact the REC for advice. Remember, research projects always require ethical approval.
Guidelines and templates
- REC checklist postgraduate students - supervisor report
- RCSI policy on accepting ethical approval granted by other institution
- General guidelines - online application
- RCSI in-depth instructions on how to complete the application form
- Indemnity insurance for RCSI students
- SOP for research involving children
- SOP for research involving RCSI students
- SOP for how to prepare for a REC meeting
The following are the regulations governing studies involving animals.
If you intend to use animals in your study please contact the REC.
Guidelines and templates
- Non-technical summary for a project under scientific animal protection legislation
- National Competent Authorities for the implementation of Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes
- SAP regulatory update (February 2021)
- SAP regulatory update (September 2017)
- HPRA guide to use of animals for educational purposes under scientific animal protection legislation - Directive 2010/63/EU (the Directive) and S.I. No. 543 of 2012
- AREC guidance notes for researchers
- AREC policy regarding the use of post-mortem tissue from animals
- Application for a project authorisation under scientific animal protection legislation
- RSPCA guidelines on animal welfare and ethical review boards
- AREC sample size template guide
- AREC sample size template
- Scoresheet for scoring endpoints in rodents
- Application for an amendment and/or renewal to a project authorisation under scientific animal protection legislation
Contact the REC
If you would like to contact the REC with a query about research ethics at RCSI or to discuss your application:
RCSI REC Convenor: Dr Niamh Clarke
- Address: 2nd Floor, Ardilaun House, 111 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2
- Email: email@example.com
- Tel: +353 1 402 2205