Dr Mark Sheehan has been appointed to the National Research Ethics Advisors Panel. The National Research Ethics Service (NRES) was originally asked by the four UK Health Departments, through the United Kingdom Ethics Committee Authority (UKECA) to establish a central advisory panel. The objective of this panel was to help with the strategy, quality assurance and service development of RECs and improve the research environment in the UK. The panel is independent but hosted within NRES and is a resource available to all RECs, funded by the UK Health Departments, within England and the devolved nations. The National Research Ethics Advisors’ Panel held its inaugural meeting on the 23rd September 2009.
Following the move of NRES to become part of the Health Research Authority (HRA) in December 2011, the panel conducted a thorough review of its membership and terms of reference. The subsequent revised terms of reference (see below), approved by UKECA in March 2012, emphasise the panel’s role in helping research ethics committees deliver robust, consistent and fair decisions. The primary focus of the panel is engagement and consultation with all stakeholders, including RECs, with an interest in health research to inform and deliver appropriate guidance and training to the REC community.
The current panel of seven advisors was appointed through open competition in October 2012. Dr Hugh Davies also sits on the panel by virtue of his role as ‘HRA Ethics Advisor’.
The panel meet quarterly at the HRA Offices, Skipton House, London or occasionally elsewhere in the UK as appropriate.