UL Research Ethics Governance & Faculty Research Ethics Committees

ULREG (University of Limerick Research Ethics Governance committee) is primarily concerned with research related policies, procedures and governance, whilst all research ethics applications are considered at Faculty level by Research Ethics Committees (RECs). All appeals of Faculty REC decisions are referred to ULREG. The University's Research Ethics and Governance structure can be seen in Figure 1.

 Research Ethics Committee Structure

The current chair of the University of Limerick Research Ethics & Governance committee is Aidan Hickey.

The Office of the Vice President of Research maintains overall responsibility for research ethics and governance structures at the University.  This is facilitated by the Operational Guidelines for University of Limerick Research Ethics and Governance Committees, Operational Guidelines of the ULREG Committee.

Research Governance and Ethics

Research governance is a process which sets standards for research, defines mechanisms to deliver standards and describes monitoring and assessment arrangements.

All members of the University staff and students are required to plan and conduct their investigations in accordance with appropriate ethical standards. Staff should ensure that they have knowledge of any relevant disciplinary guidelines on research ethics and that any empirical research has the required approval by the Faculty's Research Ethics Committee and/or other bodies as required. Research on patients (i.e. people who are receiving treatment as a result of an illness) is not within the remit of the Committee and should be referred to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital Research Ethics Committee.

Ethical clearance must be gained before any research begins. In preparing for a submission to the Faculty REC, the following should be considered:

  • Anticipate ethical dilemmas likely to be encountered in the research (such as informed consent, confidentiality and anonymity of participants, expertise of the researcher, protecting the rights of those involved) and indicate how they will be surmounted;
  • Anticipate safety issues likely to be encountered by the researchers in the course of their fieldwork;
  • Anticipate the project's data storage needs.

Faculty Research Ethics Committees are charged by the University to consider the ethics of proposed research projects which will involve human subjects and to agree or not as to whether the projected research is ethical.

Faculty Research Ethics Committees must be consulted about any research proposals which involve:

  •    Direct experimentation on individuals;
  •    Surveys or questionnaires administered to individuals;
  •    Use of data derived from individual records where individuals might be identified.
  •    Experimentation which involves animals.

For further details on the Faculty RECs and making an application for ethical approval, please click here: Application Guidelines & Forms.