CREC Application Procedures
Applying for ethical approval
Before you begin the KCL College Research Ethics Committees (CREC) application process, please ensure you have consulted the Staff & Student Research Project Briefing Page. This will help you to determine whether you need to make an application to the CREC committees, and if so, which application route/procedure to use.
For applications being made to the KCL CREC committees, there are broadly speaking two application procedures.
Full RESC/REP meeting review: This application procedure involves submitting an application to be reviewed by the full Research Ethics Subcommittee (RESC) or Research Ethics Panel(REP), at one of the RESC/REP review meetings. This will involve completing the RESC/REP application forms.
Low risk applications: If you are eligible, you may be able to make an application using our shorter, Low Risk Application Form and the associated low risk procedure.
To ensure you are clear which of the two application procedures you will need to take, please consult the Staff & Student Research Project Briefing Page mentioned above.
Notes on making an application
Check to see why you need ethical approval (PDF, 25 KB).
Make sure you read the guidelines accompanying the application form so that you fill the form in correctly.
Check for any application deadlines and submission requirements specific to your application procedure/route. It is recommended that you submit your research ethics applications as early as possible in the planning of the project.
Students - remember that your supervisor will need to read and sign/authorise your form before it is submitted; make sure you leave time for this.
If you cannot find the information you need in the application guidelines, check the training & guidance section of this website and consult with the Research Ethics Office if you cannot find the answer there.
After consulting the guidelines, training & advice section of our website, and your supervisor (for student projects), should you have any queries relating to specific areas of your project or sections of the application forms, the Research Ethics Office are happy to provide advice and guidance. We are also happy to review those sections of your draft application form that are posing difficulties to you, provided you contact us at least 2 weeks prior to the submission deadline
Depending on the application route you have used, there are various review outcomes for your application. Click on the relevant application route below to expand:
Applications submitted for full RESC/REP meeting review, using the RESC/REP application forms:
Applications submitted using the low risk application procedure:
If adequate information has been submitted your application will be reviewed at the subsequent RESC/REP meeting. Three to four working days after the meeting you will then be emailed a review outcome letter notifying you of the Committee’s decision (every attempt is made to get this to you as soon as possible). The Committee's decisions are categorised as follows:
Approved: The application is satisfactory and needs no amendment or correction. The researcher is free to commence the project.
Approved pending clarifications/amendments: The application is essentially ethically sound, however the PI needs to make some amendments or address issues before it can be fully approved (normally by Chair's action). The researcher will need to submit their responses to the Committee’s comments along with any amended documents to the Research Ethics Office as soon as possible.
Deferred: The Committee could not reach a decision and need to seek further advice.
Not approved: The application is seriously flawed and requires major revision before it can be reconsidered. Applications in this category have to be considered by the full Committee if resubmitted and should follow the same procedure as a new application with the addition of a covering letter detailing the major amendments made following the previous review.
Rejected: The study is deemed unethical.
The original submission will be retained by the Research Ethics Office. If the Committee defers approval, or approves it in principle subject to receiving clarifications/amendments, the letter will outline the clarifications/amendments necessary to secure approval. You will then need to make the necessary changes and resubmit the amended pages to the Research Ethics Office, for review by Chair's action. In response, you will be sent a letter confirming that the revised submission has been approved or explaining why it has not been.
In the case of applications which are ‘Not Approved’, the Committee will make every effort to identify information/changes that should be included in a re-submission.
Approval is given for one year for all undergraduate and Masters level studies and for two/three years for all other studies. After this point an extension should be sought if required (this will not require a full re-application and can normally be approved by Chairman’s action).
When your supervisor submits your application form to the Office by email, the Office will then forward the application for review within two working days. The form will then be reviewed by a single reviewer. You will receive notification of the review outcome by email within 15 working days of the date the application was forwarded for review. Please note that applications made using this procedure can only be approved, not approved or referred to the REP or RESC for full review.