Non-NHS Research Ethics Committees

Last updated on 19 Mar 2018

This section provides additional detail on MoD and Higher Education RECs, which are not delivered by the HRA.

The Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee (MoDREC) 

MoDREC ensures that all research involving human participants undertaken, funded or sponsored by MoD meets nationally and internationally accepted ethical standards. It operates to standards set out by the MoD which are compatible with those in the Department of Health’s Governance Arrangements for Research Ethics Committee. 

MoDREC is recognised by the United Kingdom Ethics Committee Authority (UKECA) to review clinical trials of investigational medicinal products involving subjects who are UK Armed Forces personnel recruited in a military setting, as well as Phase 1 trials in healthy volunteers conducted by the MoD or its agencies or contractors. It is also recognised as an Appropriate Body under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for review of research involving UK Armed Forces personnel who are unable to consent for themselves. 

Research within the remit of MoDREC should be submitted to MoDREC for ethical review rather than to a REC within the UK Health Departments’ Research Ethics Service. Where research with a favourable opinion from MoDREC continues within the NHS or adult social care sectors anywhere in the UK following transfer of participants into their care, it does not then require separate ethical review by another REC. Applications to MoDREC should be made using MoDREC’s own application form rather than the REC application form in IRAS.For further information, please email the MoDREC Secretariat.

Higher education institution Research Ethics Committees 

Most universities have established research ethics committees as part of their internal governance arrangements. These research ethics committees are not part of the National Research Ethics Service. In most cases, where research meets the criteria for requiring ethical review within the Governance Arrangements for Research Ethics Committees, universities will not also require review by their internal ethics committee. 

However, all students and researchers employed by universities must check their university’s internal policies. Specific guidance for social care research on the requirements for review by the Social Care REC or university RECs is provided by the Social Care Research Ethics Committee

Don't forget

If your study is led from England and involves the NHS in England, you will need to apply for HRA Approval.

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