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UCD Office of Research Ethics

An Oifig Eitic Thaighde UCD

Exemptions From Full Review

All research conducted in UCD is required to be either ethically reviewed or exempted from review and this includes all research involving human or animal subjects.

Research that does not involve either humans or animals will not require a full ethical review but may require exemption from review. Please consult with your supervisor and/or Head of School in the first instance.

PLEASE NOTE: Applicants from Taught Masters Courses should check with their supervisor or school regarding their School Taught Masters REC (TMREC) before submitting.  

From January 2018  all submisisons for a Taught Masters Student will not be reviewed by the HREC at the monthly review meetings. There will be three reviews only in Semester II – February, April and June.   Please check with your school about their own Taught Masters REC (TMREC).

From September 2018 all submissions (including exemptions)  of a Taught Masters study will no longer be reviewed by the HREC and are to be reviewed by their School’s Taught Masters REC (TMREC).


Applying for an Exemption

If your study meets the exemption criteria, please complete the latest version of the Exemption Formand note that your supervisor (if applicable) should submit the form by email to: exemptions.ethics@ucd.iePlease note that the hard copy of your signed exemption form is retained by your school/supervisor for future reference.

The current form includes a section on seeking permission to access UCD students so no additional form is required.

Exemption Criteria

In order to determine whether your study is exempt from full review or not you should consult your supervisor / Head of School in the first instance.

Please note the following instances where research does not usually require a full review by the HREC Committees:

  • reviewed and approved by a recognised REC (such as a hospital ethics committee or another appropriate body)
  • standard educational practices
  • standard educational tests
  • anonymous surveys or interviews that do not involve collection or identifiable data
  • public observations
  • research involving persons elected to or candidates for public office, persons speaking in their professional capacity
  • research which uses only existing data which is publicly available.

The following questions may help you decide if your research is exempted from full review? Does your research involve:

  • Any vulnerable groups?
  • Sensitive topics that may make participants feel uncomfortable i.e. sexual behaviour, illegal activities, racial biases, etc?
  • Use of drugs?
  • Invasive procedures (e.g. blood sampling)?
  • Physical stress/distress, discomfort?
  • Psychological/mental stress/distress?
  • Deception of/or withholding information from subjects?
  • Access to data by individuals or organizations other than the investigators?
  • Conflict of interest issues?
  • Ethical dilemmas?

If you have answered YES to any of the above then you will need to submit an application for full ethical review click here.

You should also note that not all research in these categories is always exempt from review; please refer to the relevant section of Exemption Guideline for more details.