How to apply for ethical review

Check that your project requires ethical review

If your research project involves human participants or personal data, check whether this requires ethical review by using the Decision flowchart for CUREC (261kb). See also the FAQs page.

Decide whether you need NHS ethical review or permission for your research

If your research involves participants recruited by virtue of them being NHS patients, you will need to seek approval from an NHS research ethics committee (REC) instead of approval from CUREC.

If your research recruits NHS staff as participants, or uses NHS facilities, premises or data (see also FAQ A3a for NHS data use), CUREC will provide ethical review, but first you must check whether you need NHS permission to conduct the research. Please contact either the Medical Sciences IDREC or the Clinical Trials and Research Governance (CTRG) team for advice.

To apply to an NHS REC or seek NHS permission to conduct the research, the Clinical Trials and Research Governance (CTRG) team must first review all documentation relating to the application.

Use the Decision flowchart for NHS (352kb) to help you approach the correct governance body. See also FAQ section B)

If you are applying from a department within the Medical Sciences Division

If you are applying from a department within the Medical Sciences Division, and the research does not require NHS ethical review, you would normally apply to the Medical Sciences IDREC (you can find the latest version of the CUREC 1, CUREC 2 and CUREC 3 forms on this page).

However, you must apply to the Oxford Tropical REC (OxTREC) for approval of health research that is to take place outside the European Union if it meets any of the following criteria:

  1. The research involves a medical, therapeutic, or pharmaceutical intervention of any kind
  2. Participants are recruited by virtue of being under the care of a healthcare professional
  3. The research may identify conditions that require the attention of a healthcare professional
  4. The research involves an invasive procedure (Type A in the CUREC glossary)
  5. The study is funded by the US National Institutes of Health or another US federal funding agency
  6. The research is being conducted by staff or students based in the University’s Tropical Medicine Major Overseas Programmes.

If you are applying from a department or faculty within the Social Sciences or Humanities Divisions

If you are applying from a department or faculty within the Social Sciences or Humanities Divisions, you would normally apply to the Social Sciences and Humanities IDREC (you can find the latest version of the CUREC 1A and CUREC 2 forms on this page).

Please check if you have a departmental research ethics committee (DREC), in which case you would need to send the completed forms to the DREC directly.

If you are applying from a department within the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division

Depending on methodology, researchers from the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division may be able to apply to the Social Sciences and Humanities IDREC (you can find the latest version of the CUREC 1A and CUREC 2 forms on this page). For further information, contact ethics@socsci.ox.ac.uk.