The Research Ethics System is the University's online system that supports the development, review, and clearance of research ethics applications.
Research ethics review during COVID-19 (updated October 5, 2020)
Resumption of in-person/face-to-face research activities
Time and activity with study participants, must be limited to only what is absolutely required. What can be done remotely must be done remotely.
A staged approach to resuming in-person human participant research will be implemented to ensure participant and researcher safety.
The process for resuming in-person research is outlined in this presentation, flow-chart , and on the Research Information section of the University's COVID-19 information website. To aid researchers in preparing for this next step, a document to assess capacity and readiness, as well as set priorities has been developed. Please review this information in full.
Stage 1: On-campus research requiring immediate restart (August 20, 2020)
In-person human participant studies with healthy/less-vulnerable individuals that: (a) were interrupted/halted because of the university shutdown on March 20, and (b) provide a clear justification outlining why the study cannot be shifted to be done remotely.
Stage 2: New on-campus research (September 8, 2020)
In-person human participant studies with healthy/less-vulnerable individuals that provide a clear justification outlining why the study cannot be shifted to be done remotely.
Stage 3: Off-campus/field research (October 5, 2020)
Procedures and forms for the resumption of in-person research activities:
- Researchers should follow the instructions on the research information page.
The Research Restart application should be submitted to Research Queries in parallel with an amendment or new application for review by research ethics. Add "Restarting Research" as the first line in the justification section for amendments.
A template COVID-19 information letter, along with a template email and verbal script, have been prepared (see below) to support the informed consent, screening, and tracking processes during the pandemic. Different versions are available based on whether the study is on-campus or off-campus. Upload these to the relevant sections in the ethics application before submitting for review.
A guideline for the process of screening and consenting individuals has been developed for use.
FAQ about resuming face-to-face in-person research.
Template documents for use in resumption of in-person research activities:
* These information letters were created for all research teams to provide to their study participants outlining the risks associated with COVID-19 and possible exposure, and the mitigating and monitoring mechanisms put in place to secure their safety. Participants must have the opportunity to review and discuss the letter with the research team in advance of coming to campus and to provide their acknowledgement (through a signature on the letter) before taking part in the study.
Other information related to research activities during COVID-19
- Research ethics reviews for all types of studies are continuing at this time.
- New studies that are related to COVID-19 are given priority review.
- New studies with in-person contact should incorporate COVID-19 specific processes and templates.
- Amendments to ongoing studies to eliminate personal contact are given higher priority review. Changes may only be implemented once you have received ethics clearance notification.
- Amendments required to restart research with in-person interactions will be given higher priority review.
- It is recommended that new studies that will have in-person research be submitted after the research restart application has been prepared and submitted to the Safety Office and Research Queries.
- Until further notice, any research activities that require in-person interactions that have not been approved through a Request to Resume On-campus Research involving Human Participants may not be conducted. This applies to all new and ongoing studies.
- Research activities that do not require in-person contact may continue.
- Visit the University of Waterloo Coronavirus Information website for more information.
Need research ethics system help?
View the Research Ethics System training guide
FAQ for using the Research Ethics System
Log into the system using your WatIAM credentials. If you are not a Waterloo member, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request access.
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