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Research Support

Research Ethics

Dublin City University endeavours to ensure that all research carried out by DCU researchers is ethically sound and adheres to the highest standards of research integrity. All research projects must be conducted in accordance with the law, and also according to acceptable ethical standards.

Maintaining well-established ethical standards is an important aspect of upholding the integrity of the research process. Ethically questionable research can reflect negatively on the reputation and liability of both researchers and the University. Research may place burdens on participants or put them at increased risk of harm which could be avoided or reduced. Such burdens and harm can be physical, psychological, social or financial. 

Research Ethics Committee (REC)

The Research Ethics Committee (REC) facilitates the ethical approval process by providing feedback on research ethics submissions so that any risk of harm is minimised and various ethical principles are promoted. The committee includes researchers from various disciplines and independent non-researchers who volunteer their time to review REC applications. As research participation is voluntary, REC reviews the accuracy, clarity and reading level of information provided to promote informed consent. 

Please note that undergraduate and taught masters research projects are reviewed at local School level. Students should liaise with their supervisors regarding this process.

The REC reports to the DCU Research Committee and is supported by Research and Innovation Support. Full committee meetings take place approximately every two months. Virtual meetings take place in the interim between full committee meetings. Please find the REC calendar  of meeting dates here.

The REC has a number of primary aims:

  • To protect the rights and welfare of human and animal participants in research studies or trials conducted by, or involving, DCU researchers.
  • To facilitate the conduct of ethically sound, legally compliant research at DCU in accordance with national and EU legislation.
  • To advise the Research Committee on the further development of ethical policies and procedures at DCU.

REC functions and responsibilities include:

  • Preparation of advisory documents for the further development of ethical policies and procedures as required.
  • Development of appropriate Standard Operating Procedures for research ethics management.
  • Promotion and communication of research ethics policies and procedures to DCU researchers.
  • Monitoring institutional compliance with relevant EU legislation and with institutional requirements under the terms of externally sponsored research contracts.
  • Establishment of sub-committees and procedures for sub-committees to consider the ethical implications of proposed research projects and to monitor the performance and activities of these sub-committees.

Even if a project has received REC approved, other permissions may be required to obtain access to potential participants or to conduct research on specific premises. This includes permission to contact students, employees, patients, clients, etc. using email lists, giving presentations to groups, etc. Data Protection issues must also be complied with by researchers. It is the researcher’s responsibility to identify the permissions needed, note these in the REC application and obtain them prior to contacting potential participants or initiating research.

REC Process 

Consider the level of ethical review required for your study. The level of review required will be dependent on a combination of risk assessment, the specific population to be researched, and the research methods to be used. Please also refer to the REC flowchart to help determine which type of submission should be made.
Once the type of REC submission has been determined, download and complete the required application form. Please refer to the REC guidelines to inform completion of this documentation
Check the next submission date for REC. Please see the current REC calendar of submission and meeting dates. 
Your completed application should be submitted in one electronic pdf file (to include application form and any additional documents) to rec@dcu.ie
 The application will be reviewed by REC reviewers and the review outcome will be communicated you via rec@dcu.ie

 Apply for ethical approval 
 Ethics resources for specific research areas