Imperial has developed a peer review service which centralises and standardises the process of peer review for research protocols across the College and the Trust.
Research ethics committees and Reseach and Development (R&D) Departments require peer review of projects with significant risk or burden to aid the ethical review process and make decisions about sponsorship. Therefore projects that need peer review but have not acquired it may be delayed.
The Peer Review Office (PRO) provides assistance with peer review for clinical research projects across all Imperial College sites. It advises on whether individual projects require peer review. Most projects do; a few do not, either because they carry a low ethical burden, or because adequate independent review has already taken place.
For those that require it, the PRO arranges peer review that is both independent and proportionate to the type of project. It does not carry out reviews itself, but commissions them from independent reviewers. It confirms the that the reviews have been correctly performed, but does not comment on the quality of the projects themselves.
Use of the service is strongly encouraged. To avoid delay it is advised that you contact the PRO early in the development of your project for advice and support in obtaining the correct level of peer review or to gain confirmation that review is not required. Peer review should occur before you seek approval for your project from a research ethics committee. If you have already obtained peer review, you should still contact the PRO so that it can advise if this is adequate.
The PRO aims to ensure that the review process is completed within four weeks of receipt of the appropriate documents. As this cannot be guaranteed, submission to the PRO should be made as early as is practicable.
You can access the PRO directly by contacting the Peer Review Officer.