Ethical Standards for Research on Human and Animal Subjects
The Ethical Standards Committee is registered with the National Health Research Ethics Council (Registration Number REC-241114-045) and permitted to review research proposals according to the National Health Act No. 61 of 2003. This shall ensure that all teaching and research activities involving humans or animals are performed responsibly and meet highest ethical standards.
Any research and class projects in which humans or animals are involved must therefore have prior clearance from a Rhodes Ethics committee. This follows a formal application using an application form and mostly supplemental information, such as informed consent forms and a research methodology.
The basic consideration of ethics is to minimise the risks of harm and discomfort to participants and animals respectively. This is due to the fact that any involvement of humans or animals interferes with their physical, intellectual and social being. The research must be set up in a way that this impact is as minimal as possible, and the ethics application must provide a comprehensive reasoning on this aspect. Further, the benefits of the research have to outweigh the risk(s), as otherwise the research has to be considered as unethical per se. In this context the methodology is of crucial relevance, as only a properly designed research may provide a benefit that justifies the risks.
- No ex-post ratification is to be considered. Any ethics approval must be obtained PRIOR to data collection.
- Theses and other pieces of research that contribute to an academic degree may be considered as invalid if performed without ethical clearance. The onus to obtain ethical clearance, if applicable, is on the researcher and supervisor (as a matter of fact, though).
- Most publishers require ethical approval (if applicable) for accepting manuscripts.
Further approval requirements
Further approval (in addition to approval of RUESC) may be required depending on the type of research and the resources used. This is the case for:
- Recruiting participants among the student body requires prior approval of the Director of Student Affairs (email: email@example.com).
- Recruiting participants among Rhodes University staff requires prior approval of the Director of Human Resources (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Using infrastructure or data from Rhodes University (e.g. premises, class records) requires prior approval of the Registrar (email: email@example.com). For the use of specific departmental equipment the corresponding Head of Department may approve.
- Health Research, particularly involving Hospitals and other health related infrastructure, must be registered with the National Health Research Database after obtaining approval from RUESC. Please contact Mr. Zonwabele Merile (email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 083 378 1202) from the Eastern Cape Provincial Department of Health for details.
- Clinical Research must be registered with the National Clinical Trial Register.
2015 Committee meeting schedule
Applications will be processed immediately after reception. Depending on the review outcome approval may be granted directly or a committee discussion may be required. For the latter case applications must have been submitted 3 weeks prior to each meeting:
- 26 March 2015
- 1 June 2015
- 31 August 2015
- 2 November 2015
Applications for Ethical Approval
Applications for ethical approval involving human subjects and animal subjects are completed via the InfoEd/RIMS online process. The URL is: https://ru.rims.ac.za. Please refer to the Instructions for submission of applications guide.
If you are a Rhodes staff member (or an affiliate with a Rhodes login) you will be able to use your Rhodes login details and log in via the Single Sign On facility.
If you are an external person, please contact email@example.com for a username and password.
Current policies, protocols and guidelines:
Instructions for using the electronic application management system:
- Instructions for submission of applications
- Instructions for reviewers
- Instructions for management (chair)
Research and Teaching involving Human Participants:
In order to learn about the required information for filling out the form a Sample Application for Research involving Humans can be downloaded by clicking on the link.
Research and Teaching involving Human Biological Material:
No formal ethical approval is required
- If the used biological materials are provided by third parties,
- No scarce material is used (that might be urgently needed elsewhere), and
- The supplier has ethical approval or certification for collection and distribution of biological material.
Researchers needing an exemption letter (e.g. for the purpose of grant applications) shall open an application form for Research and Teaching involving Human Participants (see above) and respond to the introduction questions accordingly. As a matter of integrity, the Ethics Committee can only issue such a letter after having checked the research proposal, irrespective of the relation to humans or human materials.
Reseach and Teaching involving sentient Animals:
In order to learn about the required information for filling out the form a Sample Application for Research involving Animals can be downloaded by clicking on the link.
Current activities of the ethics committee
The Ethics Standards Committee is currently pursuing the following projects to improve service and efficiency of handling ethical matters:
- Completing the Implementation of an electronic application processing and management system (RIMS)
- National Accreditation of the Ethics Standards Committee
- Manuals and training for applicants and reviewers
- Audit of Departmental Ethics Committees
Rhodes University Ethical Standards Committee c/o firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 046-603 8055.
Current members of the Rhodes Ethics Standards Committee:
|Prof M. Göbel (chair)||(HKE)||chair, email: email@example.com|
|Dr D Parker (chair of Animal Ethics Subcommittee)||(Zoology and Entomology)||Science Faculty representative|
|Ms J Roberts||(Research Office)||Research Office representative|
|Prof H Lotz-Sisitka||Director: Centre for Postgraduate Studies|
|Human Ethics Subcommittee:|
|Prof R Dowse||(Pharmacy)||Pharmacy Faculty representative|
|Dr Patricia Henderson||(Anthropology)||Humanities Faculty representative|
|Ms H Kruuse||(Law)||Law Faculty representative|
|Prof M Graven||(Education)||Education Faculty representative|
|Prof G Foster||(Information Systems)||Commerce Faculty representative|
|Dr Jacqui Marx||(Psychology)|
|Ms S Paphritis||Community Engagement|
|Dr C Knox||(Biochemistry, Microbiology & Biotechnology)|
|Dr S Zschernack||(Human Kinetics and Ergonomics)|
|Ms M Mattison||(Human Kinetics and Ergonomics)|
|Animal Ethics Subcommittee:|
|Prof A Craig||(Zoology and Entomology)|
|Prof H Kaiser||(Ichtyology)|
|Ms H van Zyl||(Psychology)|
Representation in external Ethics committees:
Eastern Cape Health Research Committee (ECHRC), 4 meetings per annum. Rhodes representant: Dr. Carmen Oltmann (Pharmacy).
The SANS Standard 10386: 'The care and use of animals for scientific purposes' can be reviewed via the chairperson of the Animal Ethics subcommittee, Dr Dan Parker (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)