Research Ethics Committees overview

Last updated on 4 Feb 2020

There are more than 80 NHS Research Ethics Committees across the UK. They exist to safeguard the rights, safety, dignity and well-being of research participants. 

RECs consist of up to 15 members, a third of whom are 'lay' - their main professional interest is not in a research area, nor are they a registered healthcare professional. 

RECs review research proposals and give an opinion about whether the research is ethical. They also look at issues such as the participant involvement in the research. The committees are entirely independent of research sponsors (the organisations responsible for the management and conduct of the research), funders and the researchers themselves. This enables them to put participants at the centre of their review. 

Search Research Ethics Committees

Listings, contact information and meeting dates for Research Ethics Committees (RECs) within the UK Health Departments’ Research Ethics Service.

RECs review around 6,000 research applications across the UK covering a wide range of research. On average, they give an opinion in less than 40 days: well within the statutory timeline of 60 days. 

If you are applying to one of the following types of Research Ethics Committee, you will need to click on the relevant link:

REC annual reports 

The Department of Health Governance Arrangements for Research Ethics Committees requires that the Appointing Authority receive and adopt the Annual Reports for the Research Ethics Committees (RECs)

Annual reports for the following periods are available: 

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