Should I Apply?

All research involving human participants – and all other activities which, even in part, involve such research – must be reviewed and approved by a UBC or UBC-affiliated Research Ethics Board (REB).

No intervention or interaction with human participants in research, including recruitment, may begin until such an REB has reviewed and approved the research protocol, consent documents and recruitment materials.

Who Must Obtain Research Ethics Approval?

Any project conducted by an individual connected with the University, which involves human participants must conform to UBC Policy LR9, which applies to all research involving human participants in any of the following situations:

  • Where such research is conducted by members or associated members of the University acting in their University capacity (members or associated members of the University include faculty, emeritus faculty, staff, sessional instructors, clinical professors, administrators, students, visiting or adjunct scholars, fellow, paid or unpaid associates and any other person associated with research at the University);
  • Where such research is conducted at the University, including academic space at affiliated teaching hospitals;
  • Where such research is administered by the University; or
  • Where ethics approval by the University is required for such research pursuant to an affiliation agreement with other agencies.

NOTE: REB review by another institution does not satisfy UBC requirements for ethics review. All research conducted by members or associated members of the University must also get UBC REB approval before conducting research off site. Even if a study is being conducted at another institution or in another country,  approval by a UBC or UBC-affiliated REB is generally required.  This is particularly important when the results of the study will be used for partial completion of a UBC degree. UBC needs to be aware of, and to have approved of all research studies that are being conducted under its auspices.  Please check with the applicable REB to determine if this requirement does not apply. 

Exemption from REB Review

Some studies are exempt from REB review; determination of exemption is based on regulatory and institutional criteria. Information on exemptions is provided in Chapter 2 of the TCPS2 (see Articles 2.1-2.6). Researchers conducting a US federally-funded study should familiarize themselves with the US exemptions (see 45 CFR 46.101).

Investigators who are unsure whether or not a project is exempt from review should seek the opinion of a UBC or UBC-affiliated REB before initiating the project. No UBC-affiliated REB will issue retroactive approval of a study.

Defining Human Participation

Ethical review and approval at UBC and affiliated institutions applies to:

  • All research Involving living human participants*; and
  • All research involving human biological materials (including tissues, organs, blood, plasma, skin, serum, DNA, RNA, proteins, cells, hair, nail clippings, urine, saliva, and other body fluids), as well as human embryos, foetuses, fetal tissue, reproductive materials and stem cells.

*Human participants are individuals whose data or responses to interventions, stimuli, or questions by the researcher are relevant to answering the research question.