How To Apply

Ethics Review Flowchart


(click image to enlarge)

Research Ethics Review Process:

Request for Exempt Review


The general categories of research that require REB review (Form 1) in accordance with the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans are defined in TCPS2, 2022, Chapter 2. Article 2.1.:  "A determination that research is the intended purpose of the undertaking is key for differentiating activities that require research ethics review by an REB."  Non-research activities do not require REB review (Form 1) even if they employ methods and techniques similar to those in research.  The TCPS 2 suggests that when in doubt about the applicability of the Policy to a particular project, the researcher shall seek the opinion of their home REB.  This process is not mandatory.  A review request for exemption may be submitted and requestors will receive a formal response from the REB based on current intentions as presented.  When intentions change, researchers must submit a new request to receive an updated assessment from their home REB.

Initial Research Ethics Review

Questions and pre-submission review of draft work:

The Research Ethics Officer can review draft work and identify potential difficulties that could be easily fixed before an application can be registered for review work.   To book a time, applicants are asked to contact

Submission of a new application:

Please submit the fully completed application package to  All appendices must be clearly labelled and reflect how they are referenced in the application form. Instructions and submission criteria is listed on the application form. The SMU REB's SOP- Completing Requests for Research Ethics Review details the prerequisites for registering requests for review work. 

Research applications must be submitted to the REB by faculty (i.e., full-time, part-time, and adjunct), librarians and staff.  All students must submit their applications to the REB via a faculty supervisor.  Staff members must demonstrate that they have sufficient expertise to conduct a particular type of research independently. The latest version of the application form listed on the REB website must be submitted for review.

Responding to the REB Chair's requests:

Applicants are asked to please "Reply all" when corresponding to the REB Chair to where the REB Chair's communication originated.  This ensures that applicants are directly replying to the REB Chair and copying the Research Ethics Officer (, in order to avoid delays.

In case of student research, the faculty supervisor must submit the response to the REB.  Requests arriving from students only, cannot be registered for review work by the REB.

Continuing Research Ethics Review

Reporting of new information and unanticipated issues, requests for a change to cleared research (Form 2), annual status report (Form 3) and end of study report (Form 5) are addressed to

Contact us

Office of Research Ethics
Mailing address:
Office of Research Ethics 923 Robie Street, Atrium 202 Halifax, NS, B3H-3C3