The National Research Ethics Committee (NREC) for COVID-19 was the first National Research Ethics Committee (NREC). It was established in early 2020 to deliver a fast-tracked review process for COVID-19 related health research.

The National Research Ethics Committee (NREC) for COVID-19 comprised of 18 members, of which two were public and/or patient (PPI) representatives. The PPI representatives were appointed after expressions of interest were sought from the Health Research Board’s professional network of contacts. As the Committee was set up during a national public health emergency, there was no time to undergo a public advertisement process to identify PPI representatives, however NREC has indicated that this will be the practice going forward for future Committee membership selection.

The Committee reviewed applications from across the full spectrum of human health research including basic research, translational research, clinical research, diagnostics and treatment, population health research, social research, health services research and applied health policy research. The Committee returned decisions on a total of 93 applications submitted for ethics approval.

The NREC for COVID-19 met online, weekly from April-August 2020. The work of the Committee has now concluded.