Skip to main content

How do I apply for human ethics approval?

Unless otherwise noted—such as with Research Ethics BC harmonized review—applications for new projects are submitted through UVic Research Administration Information System (UVic-RAIS).

Faculty and students log into the system with valid NetLink IDs.

If you’re a faculty member supervising a student, you must grant your student access to an identified ethics application specifically for them. Students (and department staff) will not be able to access the identified ethics application unless you grant them access. Please see our Quick guides for details.

We recommend that all UVic researchers complete the TCPS 2 CORE tutorialbefore applying for research ethics approval. This is a requirement for all UVic graduate students conducting research with human participants for their UVic project, thesis or dissertation.

Useful resources:

Standard application

Most UVic research involving human participants will use the standard research ethics application. Once the UVic human research ethics board (HREB) has reviewed and approved your study, you can begin recruitment and data collection.

If you need participant consent, review these templates for more information:

Teachers & practitioners undertaking research in classroom/professional settings

Undertaking research in professional/classroom settings can bring its own unique challenges. If you’re operating in a dual role of researcher and teacher, practitioner or clinician, see the following guidelines for ethics in dual-role research.

Anonymized application

This application is for research that is limited to analysis of anonymized secondary or primary data or anonymized human biological materials.

Anonymized data or information means that:

  • the information/data or biological materials is irrevocably stripped of direct identifiers
  • a code is not kept to allow further re-linkage
  • risk of re-identification of individuals from remaining indirect identifiers is low or very low

All forms of data (usually databases) and biological materials must be supplied to you in completely anonymous formats. The anonymized data may be in the public domain (e.g., Statistics Canada) or not (e.g., collected by a professor who can grant access to the data).

You may submit an anonymized application form if you are being supplied anonymous data that has already been linked. If we need further information (e.g., whether individuals may become re-identified), we may ask you to submit a standard research ethics application form.

If you are using linked data, or are unsure, email us or call 250-472-4545 before submitting the anonymized application.

If your study does not meet the above requirements, you must submit the standard research ethics application.

Course-based application

This application is for course instructors whose students are conducting research with human participants as part of a course.

Application deadlines

Your applications must be approved by the start of the course. To ensure review time and possible revisions, you must submit your course-based ethics applications by the following deadlines:

  • courses beginning in September (Fall term): August 1
  • courses beginning in January (Winter term): December 1
  • courses beginning in May/June (Spring term): April 1
  • courses beginning in July/August (Summer term): June 1 

Research Ethics BC harmonized review

Applications for Research Ethics BC (REBC) harmonized review must be submitted through the Provincial Research Ethics Platform (PREP). These applications are not submitted through UVic-RAIS.

You should submit an application for a harmonized review if your UVic research involves at least one other institution in the REBC network. This includes situations where:

  • you will be conducting research under the auspices of any of the institutions (involving staff, students, patients, health records, sites and/or recruitment through their sites, including recruitment via poster placement)
  • members of your research team consist of faculty, staff and/or students from any of the REBC institution(s)

The REBC harmonized review is a single coordinated review with other institutions in the REBC network.

Post-approval applications

You may need to submit additional applications after you have received ethics approval. These include renewals, amendments, project completion forms and unanticipated event reports.

Request for annual renewal form

Your study must have current ethics approval when you are recruiting and collecting data. You must maintain ethics approval if there is still a possibility that you will contact participants.

You will need to submit an annual renewal until all interactions with participants are complete.

We recommend that graduate students maintain approval until they complete their defense and final revisions are accepted.

If the annual renewal form is not submitted, ethics approval will expire on the most recent expiry date issued.

Request for amendment to the approved protocol

This form is for situations when you propose changes to the approved study procedures.

Amendments must be approved before being implemented, including an amendment in response to an unanticipated event or issue. If the amendment is extensive or involves an amendment to the original purpose of the research question, a new application may be required.

The annual renewal with amendment form needs to be submitted if the study is close to expiry. We suggest that you use the renewal with amendment form if the study you need to amend is within 8 weeks from expiry.

Notice of project completion form

Submit this form once all your interactions with participants are complete. This includes recruitment and data collection.

Please do not close your research ethics protocol when:

  1. Students have not yet completed their program. Students (undergraduate, graduate, post-docs) must maintain research ethics approval until after their successful completion of the program. This is in case of the unlikely event that their committee/supervisor requires them to collect further data 
  2. Data will be shared with others who are not listed in the approved research ethics application (e.g. future students, collaborators who were not listed in the research ethics application, etc.) 

Review timeline

The time it will take us to review your application depends on the number of applications currently in our system and the study’s risk profile. The beginning and end of the term are our busiest times.

These timelines are rough guidelines:

  • standard applications: 4-6 weeks
  • applications for use of anonymized data or biological samples and course-based applications: 2 weeks
  • post-approval applications: 2 weeks 

Example forms

These RAIS form samples can be used to prepare before submitting through UVic-RAIS. Note: they may differ slightly from those on UVic-RAIS.