CUREB Mandatory Requirements for Research during COVID-19 Outbreak

As you know, the COVID-19 outbreak poses an extraordinary and serious safety and public health threat to our communities, one that requires a correspondingly serious response.  CUREB and the Office of Research Ethics will continue to operate normally as much as possible, however some changes are necessary.

Accordingly, the Carleton Office of Research Ethics and its Research Ethics Boards (CUREB), in cooperation with the Office of the Vice-President, Research and International, require that, effective immediately, investigators eliminate all personal contacts or laboratory visits with study participants, including all participant visits to the Carleton campus undertaken for research purposes.  This also means that research involving physical assessments, or the in-person use of equipment or devices, must be suspended.

In-person participant interactions should, if feasible, be replaced with telephone, videoconference or other online communication. In doing so, researchers should be mindful of the nature of your protocol and any additional risk that may arise from switching from in-person to virtual communication, including risks to privacy.  Revised participant consents or consent addendums may be required (e.g., to update privacy considerations for the use of different communication channels).

If it is not practically or scientifically feasible to undertake your research project without in-person research interaction, then the project, or those elements of the project, should be suspended pending further notice.

While CUREB generally requires review and approval of study modifications prior to implementation, an exception can be made where the change is necessary to eliminate an immediate risk to participant(s). Such changes, including those necessary to comply with this policy, should be implemented immediately, but must be reported to CUREB at the earliest opportunity (but in any event within 5 business days).  If you need to amend your study to comply with this directive, please submit a Change to Protocol through the CUResearch platform, and include a brief summary of changes in Section 9 of the Form.  Any other changes should be submitted in the usual way.

An expedited review process is available for new proposed studies, or study amendments, relating to COVID-19 where there are good public health grounds for rapid review.  If you propose to undertake research of this kind, please contact our office at ethics@carleton.ca promptly to discuss the needs of such study.

If you believe these restrictions may cause harm to participants, or are otherwise inadvisable because of the particular nature of the study, please contact the Office of Research Ethics to discuss.  However, owing to the extreme seriousness and global nature of this pandemic, we believe that any exceptions will be rare.

As the situation is evolving rapidly, please check back regularly to keep up with any ongoing changes to this guidance.

Contact our office at ethics@carleton.ca with any questions, concerns or suggestions.

 

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The Office of Research Ethics offers administrative support to the Carleton University’s Research Ethics Boards (CUREB), works with researchers to ensure their research projects respect and comply with all applicable policies and guidelines, including those of the Tri-Councils (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC), specifically the Tri-Council Policy Statement on the Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans.

On behalf of the REB’s the office manages the protocol life-cycle, including protocol submission, approval and monitoring for the research involving human participants at the university and its affiliates. All research involving humans conducted by faculty, staff or students at Carleton University must be approved by a CUREB.

There are two Research Ethics Boards at Carleton:

Please note: Board expertise will also be taken into consideration when protocols are submitted to CUREB-A or CUREB-B for review, see the specific Board page for more information.