Applying for ethics approval

Expedited or light touch review

The ESRC Framework for Research Ethics (FRE) has guidance on provision for expedited or light touch review. 

  • Expedited review refers to the need for a proposal that involves possible risk of harm to have full ethics review, but for the review to be conducted quickly, and at short notice. 
  • Light touch review can apply when the risk of substantive harm - to participants or to anyone else who could be affected by the research - is judged to be minimal.  As with expedited review, the intent is that the review process should be quicker than if full review is necessary - the distinction is that with light touch review, a lower level of scrutiny may be necessary.

Some research ethics committees already make provision for expedited or light touch review - and the guidance in the ESRC FRE implies that these options may become more common in institutional research ethics committees that were set up to meet Research Council requirements for ethics review.  If you think your research might need expedited review, or might be eligible for light touch review, check whether the ethics committee that you are applying to offers these options.  If they do not, you will have to submit an application for full review.  If you can apply for expedited or light touch review, read the guidance in this section of the website.

For more information, see: