A combined IRAS form that merges the Research Ethics Committee (REC) and R&D forms is now being used across the UK.
Following its successful use for projects where the lead NHS R&D office is based in England, the single IRAS form should be used for projects where the lead NHS/Health and Social Care (HSC) R&D office is based in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.
The streamlined single system is a result of the work of the Four Nations NHS/HSC Compatibility Programme and contributes to making it easier for applicants to undertake research in the NHS/HSC.
Adoption of the single IRAS form UK-wide from 28 June 2017 will save time and effort for applicants and sponsors and help build UK-wide consistency.
For projects led from Northern Ireland, Scotland, or Wales, although a single form replaces the separate REC and R&D forms, this single IRAS form will continue to be separately submitted for ethical review (where applicable) and review against NHS/HSC standards as per current processes.
The single electronic submission of the IRAS form and accompanying documents for both ethical review and for review against NHS/HSC standards will remain in place for projects led from England.
Over the coming year more work will be carried out to further streamline the application process, so that the current submission functionality for projects led from England is extended to projects led from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Applications for Research Tissue Banks, Research Databases and for research projects not taking place in the NHS/HSC will continue to use the REC Form. Applications for studies where the lead NHS R&D office is based in England are not affected by this change.
Applicants are encouraged to read the advice and guidance within IRAS and to seek support from their lead NHS/HSC R&D office.