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Recruitment for HSC Research Ethics Committees


The Office for Research Ethics Northern Ireland (ORECNI) service in the Business Services Organisation (BSO) has an exciting opportunity for more members to join our Research Ethics Committees (RECs) in Northern Ireland, and would ask you to circulate this email to your staff, volunteers or professional networks. We’re looking for people who are passionate about health and social care research to review applications for research studies, particularly healthcare professionals such as doctors and pharmacists, as well as people who are not employed in the health care sector.

We wish to appoint:

  • 5 lay persons (a lay member generally is a person who is not from the health professions).
  • 4 expert persons (for example those who are registered Health Care Professionals, allied health professionals, social workers or clinical statisticians)
  • Up to 10 expert and lay deputy members

You’ll gain a wealth of skills which can help with your career. For healthcare professionals, REC membership is recognised as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and can count towards Clinical Excellence Awards.

What does a REC member do?

Our REC members help to protect research participants and facilitate ethical research. Committees review applications for research approval and are made up of volunteer members who give their time to make a difference. The work is varied but includes some of the biggest challenges we face in health and social care today, from cancer to dementia, and more recently COVID-19. REC members are a mixture of experts (registered healthcare professionals, clinical trial statisticians and other experts in research) and lay members with an interest in health research ethics. Despite having different roles and experiences all members have a shared goal; to ensure research is ethical and fair.

Your interests

To make a good REC member your interests may include:

  • protecting patients and public
  • health research
  • research ethics
  • developments in healthcare
  • working with a group of members from a variety of backgrounds

Skills required

You’ll bring lots of skills including the:

  • ability to read, understand and analyse complex issues and weigh up conflicting opinions
  • ability to take an objective stance, looking at a situation from several perspectives
  • good communication skills and the confidence to voice your opinions
  • ability to work online, accessing and reviewing documents online and attending meetings virtually

The skills you will gain

Being a REC member gives you lots of skills which can help in your career. These include:

  • an understanding of research ethics
  • an increased knowledge in research including methodology and statistics
  • an understanding of relevant legislation
  • specialised knowledge, for example paediatric research or adults lacking capacity to give consent
  • enhanced committee skills: summarising, debating, evaluating and decision making

What you will do as a REC member

We need members who can commit to:

  • attend full monthly REC meetings. We ask that members attend a minimum of six meetings a year. Meetings are held via videoconference, and last about four hours and require approximately four to five hours of reading in preparation.
  • take part in sub-committee work via email. This involves reviewing applications with no material ethical issues or reviewing amendments to approved research. Sub-committee work is in addition to full REC meetings. Members usually get involved in this approximately two to three times a year with two hours reading for each subcommittee meeting.
  • review research applications and amendments electronically through our members’ portal or email.
  • take part in induction training within your first six months of appointment; equality, diversity and human rights training within your first year of appointment, and a minimum of four hours training related to research ethics for each year as a REC member.

To download the forms click on the links below:

REC member application formPerson specificationSupporting information pack and Equality monitoring form if you are interested in applying.

Please return completed forms to by 5pm, Monday 20th February 2023.

Interviews will be held via teleconference on Tuesday 28th February and Wednesday 1st March 2023.