Research Ethics Board

Deliberation Period FAQ

Deliberation Period Questions:

  1. What should I do after I submitted my application package for review?
  2. When will I hear an answer from the REB?
  3. What are possible answers I could hear from the REB?
  4. What happens if my proposal involves no more than minimal risk?
  5. What happens if my proposal involves more than minimal risk?
  6. How will I be notified of the Board's decision?
  7. What happens after my initial response?
  8. What tips can you provide to an applicant who is in the process of answering the REB?
  9. Can I submit my revision electronically or do I have to send original copies to the Office of Research Ethics and if so, how many copies should I include?
  10. How long can I expect the review to take from the time I submitted my revisions?
  11. When can I expect to start my research?
  12. When/how will I be notified that my research has the status of ethical acceptability from the REB?
  13. When/how will I receive my Certificate of Ethical Acceptability?
  14. How long is my ethics approval valid for?

Answers:

1. What should I do after I submitted my application package for review?

Once you submitted your application you will receive an email receipt from the Office of Research Ethics detailing your SMU REB Registration number.  Applicants may wish to insert the SMU REB Registration number on relevant documents such as the Informed Consent Form and send the revised document(s) to ethics@smu.ca  Regardless whether clarifications are asked by the Board or not, having the SMU REB Registration number on the Informed Consent Form and supporting documents (Recruitment letter, Feedback letter, Debriefing Letter and Adverstisements) is a requirement so participants can reference the study.  Thereafter, applicants are encouraged to contact the Office of Research Ethics to check on the status of their application, to convey new information or to send revised or additional documents.


2. When will I hear an answer from the REB?

Applications are reviewed shortly after they are received. All reviews are processed as expeditiously as possible.  It is also possible that the REB may seek expert in-house or off-site advice about an application. Generally, the review process, from initial submission to final approval, takes 4-6, faster during slow periods.  The Board often completes the process in a shorter period but this cannot be guaranteed and the turn around time is entirely based on the work that has been submitted. The process may take longer during busier times of the academic year, typically October to February.  It is encouraged that applicants check on the status of their application by contacting the Office of Research Ethics.  The REB Chair will contact you.  It is common for the REB Chair to seek clarification from applicants on various issues; a prompt and thorough response from applicants to the REB Chair's questions facilitates the review adn clearance process.


3. What are possible answers I could hear from the REB?

First, the level of risk will be assessed and receive either on of the following ruling:

  • Minimal risk
  • Exceeds minimal risk

Secondly, results of the reviewers' voting will results in either of the following rulings:

  • Approved
  • Clarifications requested
  • Resubmission is required
  • Not approved

4. What happens if my proposal involves no more than minimal risk?

The application is reviewed by two Board members and the REB Chair.


5. What happens if my proposal involves more than minimal risk?

The application is reviewed by a panel of Board members and the REB Chair.


6. How will I be notified of the Board's decision?

The REB Chair will notify all investigators involved in the research via email of the details of the review that conveys the level of risk and the status of the research.


7. What happens after the initial response?

The initial response from the REB typically includes suggestions or requests for additional information.  In such cases, you will be required to submit your answers detailing more information.  This process may include revising either all or some of your materials (Application form, informed consent form and/or supporting documents.)


8. What tips can you provide to an applicant who is in the process of answering the REB?

  • For student applicants, ensure that your supervisor is always in the loop involving all communication.  Responses from students only without supervisory agreement are not accepted by the REB and cannot be reviewed.
  • Contact the Office of Research Ethics with questions and concerns.
  • Seek clarification from the REB Chair if you are uncertain as to what is being asked.  Ensure that you answer all questions fully.  Ensure that you revise documents if necessary and they are free of error.
  • It is in the applicant’s best interest to respond to the REB in a timely manner so the research can be approved and be started

9. Can I submit my revision electronically or do I have to send original copies to the Office of Research Ethics and if so, how many copies should I include?

Yes. You may submit your revised documents electronically to ethics@smu.ca.  If you wish to submit manual revisions, one copy suffices.


10. How long can I expect the review to take from the time I submitted my revisions?

The response time from the REB to revisions/resubmission usually takes a couple of days to a week.


11. When can I expect to start my research?

The research an begin only once the project has SMU REB approval.


12. When/how will I be notified that my research has the status of ethical acceptability from the REB?

The REB Chair will email all investigators that the project has REB approval.  You may recruit participants/data collection into your study at this time.)


13. When/how will I receive my Certificate of Ethical Acceptability?

Shortly after you received the email from the REB Chair that the project has REB approval, a Certificate of Ethical Acceptability will be issued to the supervisor/Principal Investigator of the research project along with copies for all researchers.  If you are a student, please see your supervisor for a copy of your REB certificate.

Ensure that you fully review your Certificate of Ethical Acceptability as it stipulates the conditions, details and your post-approval reporting requirements of your ethics approval.


14. How long is my ethics approval valid for?

Normally, REB approval is valid for the period of one year unless the SMU REB conditions otherwise.  The dates are specified on the Certificate of Ethical Acceptability.  If you need to exted the research, it is renewable upond submission of a an Annual Progress Report for Previously Approved Project, Form 3. Please refer to "Post-approval Reporting Requirements" in the FAQ section.

Ensure that you fully review your Certificate of Ethical Acceptability as it stipulates the conditions, details and your post-approval reporting requirements of your ethics approval.