Online Booking Service

Last updated on 5 Jul 2024

The online booking service is used for all IRAS form applications for project-based research in the NHS (or HSC in Northern Ireland) and for Research Ethics Committee (REC) applications for tissue banks, databases and health research taking place outside of the NHS/HSC.

The online booking service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For guidance on how to make your booking, log in to IRAS and navigate to the ‘e-submission’ tab of the form you wish to submit. Here you will find a detailed step-by-step process, and a direct link to the booking portal.

Selecting your REC

When you book, you will need to have your application in front of you as you will be asked a series of questions to determine which Research Ethics Committees (RECs) are suitable, dependent on the study type. 

You will be offered a slot for a REC which is suitable for the type of study. Where there is more than one suitable REC or meeting date, you will be given a choice to select the one you prefer.

RECs are geographically located across the UK. You do not have to choose your nearest REC, although that option may be available, depending on the type of research you plan to undertake. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend meetings.  Our committees meet virtually, via Zoom (web conferencing).

Some studies must be reviewed by a REC that is ‘flagged’ for the type of research which is to take place. For other types of research, it may be recommended to use a REC flagged for that type of research

You can choose a particular REC using the above options. For example, you may have a project of unusual design or that raises particular ethical issues that you have discussed with a particular REC in the past and you may want to submit to the same REC. If you select a specific REC that is heavily booked up, you may need to wait for more than one month for an available meeting slot. 

During the booking process

You will need to: 

  • make sure you are ready to submit your application on the same day
  • have your application with you, including the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) project ID and contact details of the chief investigator and sponsor contact
  • answer a series of questions about your study.

You will be unable to make a booking until all of the electronic authorisations are in place, any relevant verification checks are passed, and the REC IRAS checklist has been completed with the correct subtitles, versions and dates and the corresponding documents have been uploaded to the checklist ready for submission. The process you need to follow is detailed in the step-by-step instructions on the form’s e-submission tab in IRAS.

When making your booking, refer to the on-screen guidance which will help you to answer the questions. If you have any problems or queries during the booking process, you can call for support on 0207 104 8008 between 9:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday.

After you have made a booking

  • You will receive an email confirming your booking and REC reference number. You will need to return to the application form in IRAS and add the REC name, REC reference number, and submission date at the start of the form.

    Important: Take care not to amend or click in any other fields as this will invalidate your application. Data entry in the REC details fields in IRAS will not invalidate your electronic authorisations, however please note that if you alter any other part of your application electronic authorisations will be invalidated. 

  • You must then electronically submit your application. This must be done on the same day as making your booking. Return to the form’s e-submission tab and click ‘e-submit application’.

If your study has been submitted for Proportionate Review, a member of HRA staff will undertake a thorough pre-screen to check that the application is eligible. If your application is better suited to a Full REC review – because it does not meet the criteria for proportionate review – you will be contacted within two working days and arrangements will be made for the application to be transferred.

Our customer charter sets out the standards you can expect from us and how we will seek to improve the services we provide. 

Would you like more information?

For an overview of what a full REC review entails and what constitutes Proportionate Review, visit our REC overview section.

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