Research studies involving human participants (patients, volunteers) or research animals need to be authorised by the FHS Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) or the FHS Animal Research Ethics Committee (AEC) before the research can be conducted.

All applications for ethical authorisation of research studies have to undergo review and approval of scientific merit and rigour prior to submission to HREC or AEC. This page provides:

  • Information on the departmental process for scientific review and approval, and
  • Information and tips for completing HREC and AEC applications based on frequent review comments obtained from the committees.

Procedure for Review and Approval of Scientific Rigour and Merit

  1. Complete the relevant ethics application form and supporting documents as stipulated by the HREC or AEC. Please see important information further below.
  2. Arrange for review of the application for scientific merit and rigour through two independent experts within UCT in the field of the proposed study. These reviewers may be from your own division but can also be from other divisions or departments.
  3. Obtain signatures in ethics application forms from co-investigators, students etc involved in the study. Please note that requirements may differ between HREC and AEC and depend on the stage of your submission.
  4. Complete the departmental research proposal checklist, obtain the signatures of the two scientific reviewers as well as those of the principal investigator and co-investigators
  5. Submit by email to the following to the Departmental Research Committee for approval
    • Completed and signed departmental research proposal checklist
    • Complete ethics application (forms and supporting documents)
    • Please allow for at least two working days for the documents to be signed.
  6. Submit the fully signed application to the Human or Animal Research Ethics Committee.

Preparing a Research Ethics Application

  • Links to forms, guidelines and administrative contact details of the FHS research ethics committees are provided in the right section of this page.
  • Make sure you always use the latest version of the application forms as applications in outdated forms are returned from¬† the ethics committees without review.
  • Consult the guidelines for applications provided on the HREC and AEC web pages and in the applications forms.

Human Research Ethics

  • It is important to consult the HREC Standard Operating Procedure on Informed Consent when preparing the participant information sheet and the informed consent sheet for guidance on best practise in providing information to participants of research studies.

Animal Research Ethics

  • It is of utmost importance to consult with staff of the Research Animal Facilities before submission of the protocol to the AEC for review. Please see this notice.
  • For new protocol/study applications, no signatures other than from the DRC are required on the application for the first submission for the pre-review by the AEC Exco. Refer to the first page of the AEC application form (FHS003) for more information on the review process.¬†