Skip to main content
Search scope


SFU's Research Ethics team manages the review of any research activity at SFU that involves human participants. The Research Ethics Board, comprised of SFU faculty and community members, is the responsible body, but the Research Ethics team is delegated decision-making on over 90% of reviews. The department offers  consultation services via Zoom so that faculty and students can discuss the fine points of their protocols. Research Ethics staff also provide in-class training for graduate classes and other groups on the review process and related topics.

Research ethics review is a multi-step and ongoing process.   Review turnaround times (for initial submissions, resubmissions, amendments, and renewals) may vary due to a variety of factors such as the quality of the submission, availability of reviewers, the volume of applications submitted, the level of risk associated with the research project, and the complexity of the application.  Submissions are dealt with in the order in which they were received

It is not possible to guarantee review turnaround times or accommodate requests for urgent reviews except in exceptional circumstances (i.e., unforeseen circumstances that arise under a research protocol that require immediate consideration). Exceptional circumstances do not include research deadlines or timelines known well in advance (e.g., course timelines).

It is the Principal Investigator’s responsibility to ensure that the research team is able to meet any time sensitive deadlines (e.g., conducting research at an event that is scheduled in advance) and that projects are feasible to complete within restricted timeframes (e.g., course-based research projects).

Approximate turnaround times are listed below.  Please only follow up with status enquiries once these timelines have expired:

Initial review activities

Minimal risk projects – 15-20 business days (*if minimal risk projects are referred to the Full Board or require additional expertise to assist with the review, the turnaround time will increase)

Above Minimal Risk projects – the turnaround time will substantially increase as these studies are reviewed at scheduled Full Board meetings – allow at least 10 days from the date of the meeting at which the project is reviewed to receive a response.

Post-approval activities

Amendments – 5-10 business days

Annual renewals – 5-10 business days.  The Kuali system sends out automated reminders 60 days, 45 days and 14 days ahead of the current approval's expiry date.  It is expected that the Principal Investigator will respond to this notice in a timely fashion and well ahead of the approval expiry date either by submitting an application for renewal or by notifying the REB of the closure of the study.


Ethics help via Zoom

The Research Ethics Team offers online help sessions twice a week to address research ethics related questions. 

The Research Ethics Team does not offer a pre-review service for draft applications or draft study documents. We also do not offer a research design service.

Please email with any questions regarding review comments you receive for your research project. Do not use the help line for this purpose. 

Callers are dealt with on a first come, first served basis and calls are limited to a maximum of 15 minutes, to manage demand. Researchers may need to wait to be seen as all calls are on a 1-1 basis.

Sessions run Tuesdays and Thursdays only, from 1-2pm.

Last updated: January 4, 2024