The Research Ethics Committee (REC) is a sub-committee of Research Committee. Its two core functions are: i) to review and make recommendations on the School’s Research Ethics Policy and procedure; ii) to take responsibility for making decisions on applications for ethical approval that have been submitted by staff and students across the School. More specifically, the Terms of Reference of the REC are as follows:
1. The Committee shall keep under review and make recommendations on the School’s Research Ethics Policy.
2. The Committee shall have responsibility for making decisions on applications for ethical approval that have been submitted by members of staff and by students across the School.
3. In particular, the Committee shall ensure that the School complies with the LSE Research Ethics Policy in the following ways:
a) recognise where advice and guidance is required from colleagues outside the Committee, and if necessary call upon experts to assist with advice and review;
b) provide guidance to Principal Investigators where it is considered that the documentation submitted is insufficient for the Committee to make an informed decision;
c) in conjunction with the Health and Safety team, ensure that, so far as may be possible and reasonable, risks are minimised both to participants and researchers occasioned by or associated with research conducted from within the School;
d) where a Principal Investigator is uncertain about the ethical implications of a proposal, provide further guidance as to the appropriate type of ethics review required;
e) take advice from the School’s Data protection officer, Data Librarian and Information Security team to ensure that researchers comply with data protection procedures and legislation;
f) conduct, on a periodic basis, a review of those decisions that have been made through expedited review;
g) ensure that there are no conflicts of interest when making decisions;
h) conduct periodic audits of ongoing research projects.
4. The Committee will liaise with departments and centres and other relevant units of the School (such as LSE LIFE, PhD Academy) regarding the provision of research ethics training.
Mode of Operation
The Committee meets at least once per term. The quorum for Committee meetings is half of members plus the Chair. Applications are reviewed as and when they are received - they do not need to wait until a meeting of the Committee. Reviews are most often conducted by REC members electronically.