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Biomedical & Scientific Research Ethics Committee (BSREC)

Scope & Remit of BSREC

All studies that involve human participants, their tissue, and/or their data, are required to obtain approval from an appropriate research ethics committee. It is appreciated that study designs vary greatly, and that further information may be required to determine whether ethical approval is required. Detailed guidance on whether your research requires ethical approval can be found on the below page.

Do I Need Ethical Approval

A useful flowchart to determine what approvals you will require can be accessed here.

For the majority of medical and social care research in the NHS that involves patients or their identifiable data, approval by the NHS National Research Ethics Service (NRES) is required. This service is provided by the Health Research Authority (HRA). Further information can be found on the 'NHS Research Ethics Committee' webpage and associated subpages.

BSREC considers applications for research ethical review for projects involving human participants or their data in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Medicine (excluding the Department of Psychology) that do not fall within the remit of NRES.

Ethics approval should be sought before the project begins. Please note BSREC does not issue retrospective approval.

For some student research, BSREC has delegated the ethical review to the department. For more information please see the Delegated Student Research page.

BSREC grants ethical approval for projects. The seeking and obtaining of all other necessary approvals is the responsibility of the investigator. This includes obtaining HRA approval (NHS permissions) for research projects in the NHS, where this is required in addition to BSREC approval.

BSREC will not review or approve amendments for studies it did not originally review and approve i.e. studies originally awarded approval by an NHS REC or HSSREC. For such studies, applicants should refer to the original approving REC.

The Committee will normally only accept applications for ethical approval after funding has been awarded (in the instances where external funding is sought), except when ethics approval forms part of the requirements of a grant application.

Applicants who wish to discuss their research and/or the application process before submission should contact the BSREC Secretary (tel: 024 765 73123 or email: BSREC at warwick dot ac dot uk).

BSREC Project/Study Triaging

BSREC undertakes ethical review of all projects on a proportionate basis according to a risk-assessed triage process. Please click the following links for more information on each process:

Full review

Light Touch review

Full review

All projects involving the collection of primary data, or that are deemed high risk, are reviewed by the full Committee at BSREC Committee meetings.

The Committee meets six times per academic year and applications must be submitted two weeks ahead of the meeting date. Late submissions will not be accepted and will be deferred to the following meeting.

The BSREC secretary will provide initial feedback on the application once this has been received and will advise if the application is valid and of sufficient quality for review at the meeting.

Applicants can expect to receive an outcome within 10 working days of the meeting.

Light Touch

There are no deadlines for receipt of light touch applications as these are reviewed outside of full meetings. It is the responsibility of the BSREC Secretary, in conjunction with the Chair where necessary, to determine whether a study is eligible for light touch review. Where light touch applications are deemed to require a full review, they will be referred for review at the next BSREC meeting.

BSREC operates to a target of providing a research ethical opinion on new light touch applications within 30 working days. Please ensure you factor this into the timescales for your project.


Substantial amendments to previously approved projects are reviewed by light touch.

Advice & Support

The Research Governance Office is dedicated to aiding you with your application; our resource email account is monitored regularly, so please contact BSREC at Warwick dot ac dot uk in the first instance with any queries.

Please do not approach the Chair of BSREC directly.