Applications are reviewed as and when they are received - they do not need to wait until a meeting of the Committee. All researchers must ensure that they have ethics approval before they commence any data collection. The following timeframes are given as a guide:
The Committee aims to review applciations and send initial feedback to the researcher within two weeks of receiving the application. (Students need to allow time for review by the supervisor first.) The researcher may then be asked to provide some additional details, clarification or amendments before approval can be confirmed. Thus researchers should typically allow four weeks for the REC review process. However, complex applications may require longer and/or further iterations with the researcher, and thus the review process could take up to 5-6 weeks.
Expedited review: where there is a genuine case for urgency due to circumstances which could not have been anticipated and which are outside of the researcher’s control (for example, in the case of fast-track funding to address global or national emergencies), the Research Ethics Committee will expedite the review process as quickly as possible; researchers should email to request this. Please do not expect, however, that urgency will pre-empt the full extent of the review process.
For further guidance please visit the Research ethics policy, procedures and guidance webpage.