REB Structure and Survey

In February 2022 the University began the process of transitioning all human participant research processes from our previous manual and paper-based approach to the ARISE online platform hosted at the UofA. This decision was separate from a much larger discussion that needs to take place about how the UofL establishes a sustainable long-term solution for managing, reviewing, approving, and providing oversight for human participant research.  Our transition to ARISE is an opportunity to compare, and reflect on, our past practices and this new arrangement. 

We want your feedback.

Scan the QR code to access the survey or click here.

Timeframe

This survey will close on April 1, 2023. An interim analysis of feedback will be compiled in September 2022 with a subsequent analysis of feedback compiled in April 2023. Feel free to complete the survey more than once (i.e., now and in 6 months’ time).

All responses are anonymous.

 

The Path Forward

We would like to take 12 months to listen to researchers’ perspectives about various factors such as:

  • Opportunities for and participation of UofL researchers as members of the UofL-UofA REB;
  • Experience of working with the hybrid UofL-UofA REB;
  • Experience with the reviews (sense of quality of feedback, timeliness, etc.) completed by the current hybrid UofL-UofA REB;
  • Opportunities to identify and schedule training needs in formal courses, student researcher onboarding, and new project development; and
  • Accessibility to technical supports offered by UofA staff.

In addition, the evaluation will include assessments of:

  • Total cost to the UofL of the current modality relative to the previous approach, including the (opportunity and financial) costs to faculty workload and
  • Our ability to sustain and continue service at UofL (e.g., reliance on one position or person to maintain compliance; ability to populate HPRC/REB).

At the moment, there seem to be at least three different ways forward, although other options may also come clear over the evaluation period.  As the evaluation period proceeds, members are asked to submit additional constructs to the feedback page. Three initial possibilities include:

Option 1

Re-establishment of the HPRC at UofL, comprising no fewer than 10 members from across campus, including 1 chair and 1 co-chair. Health-related ethics reviews to continue at UofA with all other human ethics reviews to be carried out by the UofL HPRC in ARISE.

Option 2

Creation of a formal conjoint UofL-UofA REB, with membership from both UofL and UofA and an Associate Chair from UL, supported by UofA staff or UofL staff. Same division of labour as for 1.

Option 3

More fulsome participation by UofL in UA non-health REBs by adding UofL members to the fully hosted/authorized UofA REBs. Consistency of approach (from a UofL perspective) for all human ethics reviews.

Options #2 and #3 would include participation by UofL representatives in UA REB governance and policy development as well as full access to UofA human ethics research and protocol development training for students, staff and faculty with both in-person and online seminars, tailored learning opportunities, and programs provided by UofA research ethics staff.

We are currently operating within the paradigm of Option #3 with minimal involvement of UofL researchers contributing to the UofA REB. We are, however, seeking nominations for additional members to participate in the UofA REB in order to ensure that we are taking full advantage of the opportunities to work alongside our colleagues from the UofA, but also to provide UofL contributions to the work of reviewing and approving human ethics research methods.

Some of the work for the pilot year must include setting clear plans for recruitment, retention, and succession planning for the REB/HPRC members and co-chair. For the size and scope of human participant research conducted at the UofL, a minimum HPRC of 10 members is reasonable, alongside an implemented plan for chair training and succession.

We are not alone in navigating these types of potential changes. Workloads, research complexity, and the need for an increasing breadth and variety of specialized expertise (including the lenses of Indigenization and EDI for all methods, not only those that specifically reference or interact with those populations) associated with human research ethics reviews and post-approval oversight are growing rapidly. Many institutions, including those much larger than ours, are contemplating how to carefully and respectfully share these responsibilities, partner across institutions, and complete the important work to enable the continuation of safe and ethical research.

Chapter 8 of the TCPS2 outlines some ways in which institutions can work together to share this important work and we look forward to your feedback, engagement and discussion, and wisdom of experience.