Attending an ethics committee meeting
Ethics committees operate in different ways, and part of that variation is whether or not they hold meetings to discuss the applications that you are reviewing, and whether you have the opportunity to attend those meetings:
- Many committees now - especially internal institutional committees - review electronically and do not give you the opportunity to attend a meeting.
- Others will review in meetings, but the meetings are closed, and applicants are not invited to attend.
- Some committees - including NHS Research Ethics Committees and the Social Care Research Ethics Committee - do give applicants the opportunity to attend in person, to discuss their application with the committee before a decision is made. The Social Care Research Ethics Committee also offers applicants the option of attending by telephone, because they are a national committee that is based in London (and so it may not be feasible for applicants to attend in person).
In general, if you are given the opportunity to attend an ethics committee meeting, we would always advise that you make the effort to attend. While it can be daunting, it is your best opportunity to explain your approach to research ethics, and to understand - and address - any concerns that the committee may have, so it could save you time in the long run.