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Review Process

The Full Review Process - a brief overview

There are three main reviewing committees that provide academic peer reviews for ethical compliance in studies involving human participants and animals.  For all information involving animal research please consult with the webpages on the (opens in a new window)AREC Intranet.

The two HRECs - Humanities & Sciences (also known as HS and LS) carry out the ethics reviews for human subject research adhering to internationally recognised best practice throughout.

What happens to a submission for full review?

(brief overview see the Submissions Flow Chart)

  1. Deadline Date & after: submissions are processed for the reviewing committee and assigned a reference number which is also put on the next review meeting agenda, subject to capacity. In some instances submissions have to be returned.  The main reasons for returning are due to:
    • the use of the wrong forms, or
    • no supporting documents provided,
    • insufficient information in either the form or supports;
    • submit to the wrong committee,
    • submit for the wrong review - should have been a low risk study or a TMREC/UREC submission.
  2. The Review Date: a quorate commmittee provide their ethics review for the chair who finalises the review decision which is communicated to the researcher/applicant as soon as is possible after the meeting date.
  3. The Review Decision: Depending on which decision is granted, will determine the next steps in the process: The researcher/applicant receives an email with the review decision which can be one of four: 
    • Approval: the final sign-off process via infohub is commenced and the researcher/applicant is notitified;
    • Approval Subject to Clarifications: this decision is communicated to the research/applicant via email with all of the points for attention listed.  The response should answer each of the review decision points - ideally  by cutting and pasting the points into the section provided at the end of the Support Document Template.
    • Reject:  This means that no response is expected and that the researcher may need to reconsider the submission.
    • Resubmit: usually provided with points for noting for the resubmission. Re-use the original submission on Infohub but in some instances when too much time has elapsed it may require a new submission.
  4. Final Sign-Off Process: Researcher/applicants who have been approved after their response has been reviewed by the Chair, will be emailed to let them know that the final sign-off process has begun via Infohub and instructions about that process will be in that email.
  5. Approval Letter: once the final sign-off process has been completed by everyone listed in the sign-off instructions, the approval letter is emailed to the researcher/applicant which contains the conditions that the approval has been granted.

Appealing a Decision

UCD Researchers of Human or Animal studies are entitled to appeal the review decisions made by the relevant HREC or AREC that reviewed their protocol.

The Research Ethics Committee (REC) considers appeals in writing of decisions made by the sub-Committees in accordance with the Research Ethics Appeals Process. Letters of appeal must be received 30 days in advance of the next REC Meeting. 

Contact UCD Office of Research Ethics

UCD Research, Tierney Building, Belfield, Dublin 4.
E: research.ethics@ucd.ie