“The National Office is leading a new national approach to research ethics review in line with our mission to embed a robust, transparent and cohesive research ethics review system that strengthens the national research infrastructure. We will establish National Research Ethics Committees (NRECs) in health research areas of national strategic importance at the request of the Minister for Health, the initial priorities being for Clinical Trials of Medicinal Products and Clinical Investigations of Medical Devices. Appointed by the Minister, NRECs will be mandated to return a ‘single national opinion’ on applications for ethics approval, meaning that NREC decisions will be respected nationally. In this way, NRECs will work alongside local RECs in a ‘mixed-model system’ to ensure that Irish health research is underpinned by the highest standards of ethics review and process efficiency.

It is essential that national ethics decisions are informed by the range of skills, experience, interests and backgrounds reflective of Irish society. To this end, we have launched a public campaign seeking Expressions of Interest for NREC Membership. Information on the call is located at www.nrecoffice.ie/become-a-member and we welcome Expressions of Interest under this call until 11th January 2021.”

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