VIU Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

REB Application and Review Process

N.B. The VIU REB is a partner in Research Ethics BC, a consortium of REBs that facilitate harmonized ethical review among partner institutions. Harmonized review streamlines the ethics review and approval process, allowing for submission of a single ethics application across all partner institutions.  If your project requires approval of multiple REBs in BC, and these REBs are members of Research Ethics BC, please see visit Research Ethics BC for information on how to apply for harmonized review.

The following outlines the VIU REB application and review process. A schematic diagram of the process is also provided below. 

Applicants are encouraged to contact the REB if they have questions. Investing time and energy at the beginning of the process often saves time and resources in the long run.

Student applicants are required to complete the Tri-Council's on-line Course on Research Ethics (CORE) prior to submitting an application for ethical review, and attached a CORE certificate of completion to their application in ROMEO. 

The REB application and review process is described below:

1. The Principal Investigator completes an Application for Ethical Review Form in VIU's ROMEO Researcher Portal. Guides for registering in the ROMEO Researcher Portal and applying for ethical review can be accessed via VIU's ROMEO page.  

Applicants are encouraged to consult the REB's research technique-specific guides and example consent forms while developing their application, and refer to the Guide for submitting an REB application using ROMEO when iready to submit.

Student researchers are expected to develop their REB application with support of their faculty supervisor. Student Researchers are to be named as the Principal Investigator on the application form. Faculty Supervisors are  required to read and edorse the applications of students under their supervision. All student applications must have attached a signed copy of the Confirmation of Faculty Supervisor Approval Form.   

2. The applicant submits a complete application for ethical review. A complete application includes:

  • The application form with all applicable questions answered;
  • For projects involving student researchers, copies of certificates of completion for the Course on Research Ethics (CORE); and
  • Appendices such as participant recruitment instruments (e.g. posters, scripts, and emails), consent forms, interview questions/scripts, focus group scripts, and online survey URL, and, as applicable, a signed copy of the Confirmation of Faculty Supervisor Approval Form, etc.

3. The REB completes a preliminary screening of the application for completeness and coherence. Incomplete or incoherent applications are not reviewed by the REB, and are returned to the applicant with a request for more information.

4. The REB completes a Level of Review Assessment of the application that determines whether the application will be reviewed at a monthly REB meeting or on a delegated basis by a subcommittee of the REB. The Level of Review Assessment evaluates the degree of risk and vulnerability of participants associated with the proposed research. Research involving a higher degree of risk and vulnerability are reviewed at a monthly REB meeting. Research involving a lower degree of risk and vulnerability are reviewed on an ongoing basis by a subcommittee of the REB.

5. Once an application has been reviewed, the REB provides the applicant an email indicating that:

  1. the application is approved as submitted; or
  2. the application contravenes the TCPS and/or requires additional information.  

The REB typically issues an initial decision in two to four weeks. Applications that are missing information critical to review may require re-review. Applications that are missing information, or fail to recognize and account for risks to participants, sometimes require multiple resubmissions before approved.

6. An approval email is issued to the Principal Investigator once the REB is satisfied that the application is compliant with the TCPS. Once approved, the application becomes the ethical protocol with which researchers must adhere.

Approval is generally granted for one year, although duration of approval may be shorter where warranted. For research that that continues past the one year approval, the Principal  Investigator is required to submit to the REB and application for Continuing Review.

7. Principal Investigators are required to report to the REB any and all significant unanticipated issues that arise with the research.

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