Updates at the Office of Research Ethics and for ROMEO (Ethics Applications)

The Office of Research Ethics (ORE) has been working to streamline processes to improve efficiency and to improve current review timelines. Below are some key updates that have/will be implemented:

Application Form
1. Effective August 1, 2015 the ORE rolled out an updated Non-Medical (NM) REB application form on Romeo. The previous application form was de-activated as of July 30, 2015 at 11:59 pm. If you were completing a NMREB application form before this date and did not submit it or save it as a word file BEFORE July 30, 2015 your information was lost.

Templates
1. The following templates/guidance documents are available on the website to help aid researchers with their application
a. An updated Letter of Information/Consent form. This will include helpful options for the various types of research projects.
b. Assent
c. Telephone script
d. Poster (Ad) for recruitment
e. Recruitment email, Reminder email
f. Debriefing form
g. Community Engagement form
h. Photographic Release Form

NM REB Reviewers
1. Effective June 1 only 1 reviewer + an Ethics Officer (EO) will be assigned to review all delegated submissions. The assigned REB member is responsible for the submission approval. The reviewer will be an REB member from within the Faculty of that submission who confirms no conflict of interest.
2. Initial review process:
. The Ethics Officer (EO) will review the initial submission with 4 business days of the submission date,
. The EO will email the reviewer requesting if they can review the submission (review must be done within 5 business days). Included in the email will be the EO’s review (preliminary recommendations). The REB member will review the submission, add their recommendations to ROMEO (if applicable), review the EO’s recommendations and confirm if they can be sent to the researcher. Correspondence will be done via email.
. This will cut down on back and forth between the reviewer and the ORE. NOTE: this timeline is subject to change if the ORE is unable to find an REB member.

Pilot project:
1. The ORE and FIMS have been working together to pilot a system that allows a representative from a department / faculty to internally review a protocol before it is submitted to the REB.
NOTE: The idea of having the submission reviewed by a representative within the department/faculty is to:
a. Ensure quality of the submission and to minimize the number of common errors found in many submissions (e.g., comprehension, grammar, spelling, etc.) that result in unnecessary delays in approval;
b. The department / faculty representative may be an REB member and therefore, their initial review is already completed and they only have to approve the preliminary recommendations (if any) issued by the EO’s (that should be completed within 3 days of the initial submission to the ORE).

NOTE for Faculty of Education Researchers – Karen Kueneman is available to pre-review all submissions to ROMEO. Please save a copy of the application and accompanying documents (letters of Information, etc) in Word and email to Karen, kueneman@uwo.ca, at least one week ahead of the date you wish to submit to ethics.

Other important updates
1. The ORE is hiring additional staff to help offset volume and review timelines
2. The ORE is looking at assessing the current REB management system (ROMEO) and the potential need for a more effective and efficient system.

Message to researchers
1. In order to ensure that you receive REB approval before your intended start date, please allow at least 2 months for the approval process. While the process may not take the full 2 months it should provide more than enough time to go through the review process (especially if your submission is to be reviewed at a full board NMREB meeting which only meet once a month).
2. If students are submitting a research proposal, the PI is responsible for proof reading and correcting any errors before the proposal is submitted to the REB (provide the same level of review as done for grant applications). As the PI you are ultimately responsible for the project and its oversight.
3. If you have any questions about your project please contact the ORE before you submit your proposal.

If you have any questions/concerns in general please contact Erika Basile, Director (Research Ethics) at ebasile@uwo.ca or ext 86764 or Grace Kelly (Lead Ethics Officer for the Non-Medical REB) at grace.kelly@uwo.ca or ext 84692.

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