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Research Ethics Structure in Scotland

Research Ethics Service Annual Reports for Scotland are available to download here:

The Research Ethics Service in Scotland is a part of the UK-wide national service aimed at facilitating research, whilst simultaneously protecting the rights, safety, dignity and well-being of people participating in research in the NHS. The service is supported by the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office (CSO) and the Health Research Authority (HRA) to:

  • Provide robust and responsive ethical review of research by RECs
  • Provide ethical guidance and management support to RECs
  • Deliver a quality assurance (QA) Framework for the research ethics service
  • Deliver training and support for researchers and REC members
  • Work with colleagues in the wider regulatory environment to streamline the processes for approving research
  • Promote and support transparency in research.

Structure of Research Ethics in Scotland

There are currently 12 Research Ethics Committees (RECs) in Scotland, hosted in the four Nodal Regions:

  • North – Aberdeen
  • South East – Edinburgh
  • East – Dundee
  • West – Glasgow.

RECs operate independent of researchers, sponsors and funders and each REC consists of up to 18 volunteer Lay and Expert members. This ensures they are able to put participants at the heart of their review.

In addition to research studies requiring full ethical review by an NHS REC, each Nodal REC centre also provides advice on projects which could be deemed as clinical audit, service development/evaluation, surveillance and usual practice (Public Health). Governance of the RECs is provided by the NHS Health Board, the CSO, the Health Research Authority (HRA) and the United Kingdom Ethics Committee Authority (UKECA). Nodes also support full ethical review committees and sub-committees for each of the RECs which cover all other committee work including proportionate review; responses to Provisional Opinion; substantial amendments; and assessment of breaches and serious adverse events. Each Nodal centre supports research ethics committees and provides advice and training for researchers.

Each Nodal centre can provide advice to researchers and sponsors in line with HRA guidance. For example:

  • Whether your project may be considered research, audit or service evaluation, in conjunction with Sponsor and others, as appropriate
  • Whether the study requires NHS ethical review
  • What type of ethical review is required
  • What other approvals may be required
  • Current guidance on ethical issues, for example, recruitment and consent.

Training for Researchers

National training available at the Health Research Authority Learning pages, Clinical Research Training Scotland and from your local Ethics Node.

How to Apply for Approvals and Further Guidance

Full review applications need to be submitted at least two weeks in advance of the meeting. Applications suitable for proportionate review will be allocated to the next available meeting in any UK REC. Attendance at a full REC meeting is expected, therefore you should choose a REC that you can make yourself available for.

NB: It is possible to teleconference into some committees. Please check the contact list below and give your preference when the nodal ethics office staff contact you about the time and venue for the meeting.

Is your study research? Does your study require review by an NHS Ethics Committee?
MRC Toolkit: gaining consent How to apply for R&D permissions
Planning your research Forthcoming meeting dates for all RECs
Additional advice for Scotland lead studies Additional advice for England and Wales lead studies
How to book a meeting Making amendments to your study
Who can be a Sponsor (an institution) willing to indemnify a project, not just a signatory  

NB: Only one REC in Scotland can consider applications under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. This is Scotland A REC, which is hosted within South East Scotland by NHS Lothian.

Ethics - Contacts

Advice on current applications, including queries on individual studies, should be directed to the relevant REC Manager. 

All other queries should be directed to the relevant Scientific Officer.

Based in Committee REC Manager Contact Number Email queries to Teleconference availability
NHS Grampian, Aberdeen NoSRES1 Carol Irvine 01224 558458 All full meetings
NHS Grampian, Aberdeen NoSRES2 Carol Irvine 01224 558458  All full meetings
NHS Lothian, Edinburgh SESRES1 Sandra Wyllie 0131 465 5473 All full meetings
NHS Lothian, Edinburgh SESRES2 Sandra Wylie 0131 465 5473 All full meetings
NHS Lothian, Edinburgh Scotland A Manx Neill 0131 465 5680 All full meetings
NHS Lothian, Edinburgh Scotland B Manx Neil 0131 465 5680  All full meetings
NHS Tayside, Dundee EoSRES1 Jessica Clarke 01382 383878 All full meetings
NHS Tayside, Dundee EoSRES2 Lorraine Reilly 01382 383878 All full meetings
NHS GGC, Glasgow WoSRES1 Kirsty Burt 0141 314 0212 All full meetings
NHS GGC, Glasgow WoSRES3 Abibat Adewumi-ogunjobi 0141 314 0211 All full meetings
NHS GGC, Glasgow WoSRES4 Rozanne Suarez 0141 314 0214 All full meetings
NHS GGC, Glasgow WoSRES5 Sharon MacGregor 0141 314 0213 All full meetings


Nodal website No. of RECs Scientific Officer Email enquiries to
North 2 Dr Rachel Hardie 
South East 4 Dr Helen Newbery
East 2 Dr Julie Kelly
West 4 Dr Judith Godden