Applying to CREC

Only applications that are categorised as requiring CREC review under the Central REC Review Criteria (PDF, 452kb) should be submitted to the CREC.  Applications which do not fall under this Criteria will not be accepted by the CREC; if you apply to the CREC incorrectly your application will be rejected and you will be directed to re-apply to the correct REC.

Applications may be referred to the CREC by a Faculty Research Ethics Committee (FREC).  Depending on the reason for this, your application may be re-directed by the FREC, or you may be asked to withdraw your application and re-apply to CREC. Please notify research.governance@keele.ac.uk if the FREC requests that you re-apply to the CREC and include reasons why.

If you are preparing an amendment to an application that already has CREC approval, go to Making changes to your research

If you are preparing an application for a Programme of work you should follow the process outlined on the Programmes of Work page before progressing your application further.  You will need to follow the processes outlined on that page and return here to submit your application to CREC.

For an initial application to CREC, you should prepare the following mandatory document(s):

  1. CREC Application Form 
  2. The following (suggested templates are provided where available), as applicable to your research project:
  • A protocol or proposal of activity
  • Written information to be provided to participants / subjects (e.g. Participant Information Leaflet Template)
  • Consent Form(s) (e.g. Consent Form Template)
  • Information on any substances to be administered
  • Available safety information
  • All other documents which are required to enable the REC to fulfil its responsibilities; including but not limited to example website text, questionnaires, interview schedules, guidance documents for participants

All finalised documents must be clearly identifiable by their filename and must be fully version controlled (including version number and date).

All final versions of documents must be converted to PDF format for submission.

Once you have finalised the documents you need for your project, you should:

  1. Where applicable, ensure that you have discussed the Application with your supervisor (you will be asked to confirm this at the time of submission)
  2. Complete the CREC Google Submission Form (a copy of the questions to be answered on the CREC Google Submission Form are availible for reference purposes under CREC Templates and Guidance; note that applications will ONLY be accepted through completion of the online Google Form accessed through the link to the Google Form itself above).
  3. Upload the finalised versions of your applicable documents as indicated by the Google Submission Form
  4. Submit the application

Submission of the application will start the review clock. If, following submission of the application you wish to withdraw or change it, please contact the CREC Administrator at research.governance@keele.ac.uk.

The CREC Administrator will confirm receipt of the application within 4 working days of submission.  They will check that the application has been sent to the correct committee and that all required documents have been included.  If the application is incorrect or incomplete, you may be asked to resubmit it.

Initial decisions on valid applications will usually be given within 21 working days of submission. See Outcome of REC Review for information on the decisions that a REC can make. REC decisions will be copied to your supervisor(s) via the contact details that you provide on the Google Submission Form.

If the outcome of your review is a Further Information request, this means that the CREC either need further information to make their decision OR require you to make changes to your documents which they need to review before issuing their final decision. The CREC will usually specify a time-frame within which they expect a response to the further information request; if the outlined timeframe is not met, the CREC reserve the right to reject your application.

If you are asked for further information by the CREC, it is important that you address all points as comprehensively as possible.

To respond to a request for further information: 

  1. Amend any documents affected
  2. Address any comments that require a response
  3. Email your response with the subject <<[CREC Reference]; Response to Further Information Request>>, including any amended and / or supporting documents to the CREC Administrator at research.governance@keele.ac.uk 

You will usually receive the outcome of the review of any further information from the CREC within 9 working days.

A maximum of 2 further information requests will be made by the CREC.  If following this, the information provided is still unsatisfactory, you will be required to make a full new application.

Where the REC Favourable Ethical Opinion (FEO) includes conditions, this opinion only remains valid if you comply with these conditions.  Where you are not able to do this, you must contact the CREC Administrator at the earliest opportunity.

If you have received an Unfavourable Ethical Opinion (UFEO) from the CREC and you wish to appeal, follow the process outlined on the Appealing a REC Decision page

You may begin your research once the CREC has confirmed that it is is satisfied with any further information you have provided (if applicable) and have issued you with a Favourable Ethical Opinion (FEO).