Kuwait University
College of Life Sciences

Information Science Department

About the Ethical Review Committee (ERC)

The Ethical Review Committee (ERC) functions as an Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Information Science Department, College of Computing Sciences and Engineering, Kuwait University. It is charged to review the ethical aspect of research proposals that involve Human Subjects, which will be undertaken by faculty members and students. The ERC is responsible for ensuring the compliance with national and international regulatory standards for research on Human Subjects. National regulatory standards include the laws of the State of Kuwait, rules and regulations of the Ministry of Health, and policies and guidelines of Kuwait University. In order to ensure compliance with international ethical standards, the Committee evaluates research protocols in accordance with the:

  • Nuremberg Code of Ethics
  • Belmont Report- Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects
  • World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki- Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects

"Autonomy, Beneficence, and Justice"

ERC Members

  • Prof. Kassem Saleh
  • Dr. Naelah Al-Dabous
  • Dr. Omar AlIbrahim (Vice Chair)
  • Dr. Fatima Boujarwah (Chair)
  • Eng. Hebah Al-Turki (Secretary)

Charges

  • Review proposed studies and research involving human participants to ensure that they conform to internationally and locally accepted ethical guidelines.
  • Monitor studies once they have begun and, where relevant, take part in follow-up action and surveillance after the end of the research.
  • Approve, reject or stop studies or require modifications to research protocols.
  • Set policies and offer opinions on ongoing ethical issues in research.
  • Create relevant processes and develop appropriate forms to accompany committee processes.

Steps

  1. Review the ERC application process: ERC Process.
  2. Go through the online Ethics Certification course. The course is free and can be accessed via: https://www.fhi360.org/sites/all/libraries/webpages/fhi-retc2/RETCTraditional/intro.html
  3. Once you finish the online course, you need to attempt an exam and pass it with 80% or higher via this link: https://www.fhi360.org/sites/all/libraries/webpages/fhi-retc2/RETC_Evaluations/RETC_Evaluations.htm
  4. A PDF copy of the course certificate will be emailed to you. Make sure to include this document with your application.
  5. Fill out the ERC application form: ERC Application Form.
  6. Send the completed application and any questions to: ethics@ku365.onmicrosoft.com

Resources

FAQ

Q. Do I have to apply for and obtain ethical approval to conduct my research?
A. No. While obtaining ethical approval is recommended, applying for the ethical approval is entirely optional.

Q. What are the types of studies that often require ethical approval?
A. All studies that involve human subjects or data about human subjects are required to obtain ethical approval. Studies that include surveys, interviews, and focus groups should apply for ERC approval. Studies that involve developing software or optimizing algorithms are not required to obtain ethical approval. If you have doubts, please contact the ERC.

Q. Why do I need to apply for ethical approval? What are the benefits?
A. Obtaining ethical approval is optional and is provided as a service. By obtaining ethical approval from ERC, the researchers can use this approval to submit to peer-reviewed international journals which often require such approvals prior to accepting to review the manuscript.

Q. How long will it take to obtain an approval for my study?
A. There is not specific time-frame for how long the process will take, but the committee will work hard to review the submitted applications in a timely manner. Always plan ahead and apply early.

Q. Can I apply for ERC after collecting data?
A. No. ERC approval cannot be provided retrospectively. Data collection should start AFTER getting the approval from ERC. Therefore, it is recommended that researchers apply early.