Reform of the HSE Research Ethics Committee System

The HSE Roadmap for the Reform of Health and Social Care Research Ethics Committees details a new integrated research ethics committee (REC) system for the HSE.

HSE Reference Research Ethics Committees (RRECs) will be established in each new HSE Health Region. These committees will co-exist and work in a coordinated fashion with the existing RECs in voluntary hospitals.

This will ensure clear guidance and timely access to appropriate REC approval processes for hospital and community based research. A single REC review process will also be established for national studies, and studies which involve multiple sites within the scope of health research in the HSE.

What are HSE Reference RECs?

HSE Reference RECs will accept applications for research taking place in their respective HSE Health Region, including HSE funded services (such as Section 38 and 39 organisations) who do not have access to their own REC.

Map of HSE Reference RECs image

All HSE Reference RECs will operate in accordance with the Standard Code of Governance and Management Required for HSE Reference Research Ethics Committees and will report to the National Committee for the Governance, Management, and Support of Research.

The reform of HSE Research Ethics System is happening in parallel with the development of HSE research governance capability, and it will be enabled by the roll out of the National Electronic Research Management System. Researchers will complete a single application process to apply for institutional governance approval and research ethics approval for health research within the scope of HSE Reference RECs.

Implementation of the HSE Roadmap for REC Reform

Image of Implementation roadmap of the HSE REC Reform

HSE Research & Development will oversee the delivery of this model in collaboration with the Health Regions and in line with national service requirements. The HSE REC Support and Coordination Office will provide strategic supports including the recruitment and training of members and guidance on implementation of all relevant operational protocols. Over time, HSE R&D will roll out a Quality Assurance Framework to ensure compliance with the Code.

An online information webinar about REC reform took place on Wednesday, 30th November 2021. Webinar and presentation available to view.

Roadmap for the reform of the HSE Research Ethics Committees. Webinar November 3rd, 2021
View on YouTube

Roadmap for the reform of the HSE Research Ethics Committees. Dr. Ana Terrés
Download PDF / 1MB 

Standard code of practice thumbnail image
HSE Standard Code of Governance & Management
July 2022
Download PDF / 696KB

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