Do I need NHS REC approval?

This decision tool suggests that you do not need NHS REC approval, however, you may still require another type of ethics committee review, e.g. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) ethical approval.

Researchers in HEIs are advised to check whether, under their institution's policy and internal arrangements, ethical review is required by their HEI research ethics committee.

Exceptionally, the Research Ethics Service may accept an application for review of research at the request of the sponsor, chief investigator or host organisation, where it agrees that the proposal raises material ethical issues. Agreement should be sought from the responsible operational manager for the local REC centre prior to submission of the application.

Requests should be sent by email, including a summary of the research proposal (maximum one page) and explanation of why the project raises significant issues which cannot be managed routinely in accordance with established guidelines and good practice, and requires ethical consideration and advice from an NHS REC. Contact points for operational managers can be found on the HRA website.

Researchers requiring further advice (e.g. those not confident with the outcome of this tool) should contact their R&D office or sponsor in the first instance, or the HRA to discuss your study. If contacting the HRA for advice, do this by sending an outline of the project (maximum one page), summarising its purpose, methodology, type of participant and planned location as well as a copy of the previous results page and a summary of the aspects of the decision(s) that you need further advice on to the HRA Queries Line at

Follow this link to start again.