Research Ethics Board

The University Research Ethics Board (REB) is an independent committee established by Senate. The REB is charged with ensuring compliance with the Tri Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2) and Policy R20.01, Simon Fraser University's policy and procedures for review of ethical considerations arising from research involving human participants.

SFU REB Subcommittees

The SFU REB is divided into three subcommittees: (a) Social and Behavioural Sciences (b) Biomedical and Health Research, and (c) Clinical Trials. These subcommittees are authorized to review the ethical acceptability of research and to approve, reject, request modifications to, or terminate any proposed or ongoing research involving human participants.

Social and Behavioural Sciences Subcommittee

The Social and Behavioural Sciences Subcommittee is responsible for reviewing social, behavioural and cultural research using methods such as, but not limited to: interviews, surveys, questionnaires, observations, psychological, social or behavioural interventions, audio and/or video recording.

Procedures that may pose greater than minimal risk to research participants (e.g. sensitive, personal or psychologically invasive interview questions or questionnaires etc.) and recruitment of participants who are considered vulnerable or potentially vulnerable in relation to the research will be reviewed by this subcommittee

Biomedical and Health Research Subcommittee

The Biomedical and Health Research Subcomittee is responsible for reviewing research that involves biomedical interventions, research with a health focus and research that involves the use or collection of human biological materials.

Procedures that may pose greater than minimal risk to research participants (e.g. invasive or non-invasive health interventions, altitude simulations, collection of biological materials etc.) and recruitment of participants who are considered vulnerable or potentially vulnerable in relation to the research will be reviewed by this subcommittee.

Clinical Trials Subcommittee

The Clinical Trial Subcommittee is responsible for reviewing all studies that fall under the TCPS 2 Chapter 11 definition of a clinical trial.

Definition of a Clinical Trial (TCPS 2 Chapter 11, Introduction): Clinical trials are most frequently undertaken in biomedical research, although research that evaluates interventions, usually by comparing two or more approaches, is also conducted in related disciplines, such as psychology. The researcher leading a clinical trial is often (but not always) a clinician, that is, a health care provider (e.g., physician, dentist, naturopath, nurse, physiotherapist). Although various types and forms of clinical trials have methodological differences, the ethical principles and procedures articulated in this Policy are applicable, and can be adapted as needed.

Types of Clinical Trials (TCPS 2, Article 11.1)

Pharmaceutical Trials  

A clinical trial that involves testing of pharmaceutical products (Phases I-IV).

Natural Health Product Trials

A clinical trial that involves testing of natural health products (Phases I-IV).

Medical Device Trials

Medical devices may take many forms (e.g., a magnetic resonance imaging machine, a cardiac pacemaker, a hip implant). The term “medical device” covers a wide range of instruments used in the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, or treatment of a disease or abnormal physical condition or the restoration, correction or modification of body function or structure.

Psychotherapy Trials

A clinical trial testing a psychotherapeutic approach to behavioural disorders or other mental illness may compare the outcomes of two or more patient populations with the same diagnosis but receiving different therapies; or a trial may compare the outcome of those who have received a therapy with those who are on the waiting list for treatment. Often a trial will compare a behavioural therapy approach with a pharmaceutical treatment approach or some combination of both.

Surgical Trials

A clinical trial that involves comparing of different surgical techniques.