Wits Ethics



Wits Ethics, Ethics clearance is required for all students who are doing research in the School (both where participants are human subjects, and when the research is based on existing data sources), as no data collection can start without first having an ethics clearance and protocol number issued. Where research is based on existing data sources, the ethics application will be a mere formality so that an ethics clearance certificate and protocol number can be issued. Faculty will not allow a postgraduate research report to be submitted without an Ethics Clearance form.



The SEBS Ethics Committee gives ethics clearance for all Honours and Coursework Masters research.



Research Masters and Doctoral research, as well as Staff research projects must be cleared by the University Human Research Ethics Committee. Please refer to the University Research Website .

STEP 1: ETHICS CLEARANCE APPLICATION FORM



The students must obtain an electronic application pack from SEBS Research Administrator Ms. Siyabonga Molaba; email: Ethics-SEBS@wits.ac.za , or from supervisors.

STEP 2: COMPLETION AND CHECK OF ETHICS APPLICATION PACK

Students need to complete the ethics clearance application form and attach all supporting documents. Please read the application document guidelines to assist you in completing the form. Submit the pack to your supervisor to review and sign. Supervisors must make sure that the form is fully completed, all supporting documents are attached, and the form signed off. Incomplete applications will need to be re-submitted for the next deadline a month later, thus unnecessarily delaying the start of data collection.

STEP 3: SUBMISSION OF PACK

It is the responsibility of each student to submit his/her electronic packs to the research administrator on the last 3rdThursday of the month at the latest, and at least TWO months before commencement of data collection:

Please note that NO data collection can start BEFORE an ethics clearance certificate is issued. An ethics clearance certificate will NOT be issued AFTER the research has been conducted

  • The pack must include the following in electronic format:
  1. Completed ethics application form; Research instrument e.g. letter to participants; letter of consent from the site where the research is being conducted, Questionnaire and Research proposal.
  2. All electronic ethics applications have to be made in MS Word format.
  3. All scanned documents have to be submitted in a standard, vertically oriented format.
  4. Where signatures are required, the original MS Word document (without signatures), as well as a scanned PDF document (with signatures) have to be submitted.

The research administrator will check that the application form is fully completed and all supporting documents are attached. Failure to submit all the forms will cause unnecessary delay in obtaining ethics clearance.

STEP 4: FEEDBACK

  1. Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application 10 working days after submission. 
  2. Successful applications:If approved: The research administrator will provide the supervisors and applicants with ethics clearance certificates
  3. Partially successful applications: If the application requires minor corrections, the applicant will be informed by email within 10 days of submission, and corrections will need to be submitted within 2 weeks of reception of the email.
  4. Unsuccessful applications: If the application is unsuccessful and rejected, the applicant will need to meet with the Chair of the Ethics Committee and a new application will need to be submitted on the last 3rdThursday of the month.

STEP 5: DATA COLLECTION

Submission Deadlines

  • 15 February 2018
  • 22 March 2018
  • 19 April 2018
  • 24 May 2018
  • 21 June 2018
  • 19 July 2018
  • 23 August 2018
  • 20 September 2018
  • 18 October 2018
  • 22 November 2018

The student can now go ahead with data collection. It is the responsibility of the student to attach a copy of the ethics approval form to his/her dissertation upon final hand-in.

Submission times are from 08:00am – 15:00pm to: Ethics-SEBS@wits.ac.za

PLEASE NOTE: NO LATE APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED.

PLEASE REFER TO THE LINKS BELOW FOR THE DOCUMENTATION YOU NEED

  • Ethical Clearance Application instructions
  • Ethics Clearance Form
  • Ethics Clearance Checklist
  • Sample consent form Interview Recording
  • Consent form organisations
  • Sample participant letter
  • Sample participant consent form

Research Ethics

The University insists that all its research be conducted following the very highest ethical standards. Research integrity in general is a corner stone of high quality research.

The University subscribes to the research integrity standards as set out in the Singapore Statement which may be viewed here.

All researchers including staff and students conducting any research that may impact directly or indirectly on people, animals or the environment need to seek ethics clearance before any research is conducted. If one fails to obtain ethical clearance before the research is started, then this may lead to articles not being published and students being barred from graduating.

The University’s Ethics Committees are, or are shortly expected to be, registered with the National Health Research Ethics Council (NHREC) of the Department of Health. As such, we fully subscribe to the document entitled Ethics in Health Research. 

  • Students or staff currently registered with the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg for Masters or PhD degree wanting to conduct research by either using Wits students or staff data need to apply to the University Deputy Register’s Office for permission to conduct the research.
  • Students/academics/researchers who are not currently registered with the University of Witwatersrand or employed by the University wanting to complete research by either using Wits students or staff data need to complete Form C.

Ethics Management System (EMS)

  • Most requests for ethical clearance certificates need to be submitted via the online Ethics Management System (EMS) which is available at this link: https://www.witsethics.co.za/Login.aspx
  • If you need help with making your application visit with Ethics User Guide 
  • More specific information about the various ethics committees is available by following this link.

Should you want to conduct research about the University or want to use the University community as research participants then you will have to discuss the project firstly with the Assistant Registrar, Ms Nicoleen Potgieter, who can be reached at: Nicoleen.Potgieter@wits.ac.za.

To facilitate this process please down load one or more of these three forms and complete them before making contact with the Assistant Registrar.

Forms:

FORM A Request from Masters & PhD students or staff to conduct research

FORM B Questionnaire Request to conduct research

FORM C Request to conduct Research at the University for non Wits

Ethics Committees

Animal Research Ethics Committee (AREC)

All research and teaching activities involving animals under the auspices of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg requires ethics clearance from the AREC.



How to Apply?

  • A new online Ethics Management System (EMS) with Ethics User Guide is available on link: https://www.witsethics.co.za/Login.aspx
  • Applicants can self-register, save, download, and submit their online ethic applications for approval to the various ethics committees
  • The Applicant is requested to submit ONE (1) hard copy of the online application form after submitting online to the office of the Secretariat: Room 10 004, 10th Floor, Solomon Mahlangu House, East Campus. See documents to download below
  • It is very important that you first read the Guidelines for completion of applications to Animal Research Ethics Committee
  • Applicants seeking information on the Animal Research Ethics can email Shaun.Schoeman@wits.ac.za /  011 717 1408
  • In addition to the online application, you are requested to submit one signed hardcopy of the online application and supporting documents to the Research Office, Solomon Mahlangu House, 10th floor, room 10004. Please note that your application will not be reviewed if the signed hardcopy of your application and supporting documents are not submitted

Downloads:

  • AREC Submission Dates for 2018
  • Guidelines for animal use at Wits 2015.doc
  • Application for approval to undertake a sugical training course using animals
  • Application for modification to existing animal ethics approval
  • Planning studies or teaching activities
  • Guidelines for studies at more than one institution
  • SA National Standard on the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes
  • GUIDELINE FOR AUTHORISATION
  • SAVC APPLICATION 2018
  • SAVC_Employee Employer Supervision Agreement
  • SAVC – Table of Approved Protocols

Biobanks Ethics Committee

Reviews all applications for the establishment of biobanks and to make recommendations to the HREC; and to review all research using tissue samples and / or associated data from approved biobanks and make recommendations to the HREC. 

How to apply?

For enquiries regarding progress or outcome of ethics application contact the Research Administrator – Ms Zanele Ndlovu,  Mr Rhulani Mkansi HREC-Medical.ResearchOffice@wits.ac.za – 011 717 1252/2700/1234/2656

Form:

For collection, storage or transfer of biological samples and data at an approved Biobank. NB parallel submission to BEC2 and HREC (Medical) ethics application allowed.

Guidelines and Policies

  • Policy and Principles on Biobanks 2017
  • Wits MTA 2018
  • ABPI Compensation Guidelines 2014

Downloads

  • BEC Ethics Meeting and Submission Dates 2019
  • BEC 1 Application Form 2019
  • BEC 1 Biobank Checklist – 2019
  • BEC 2 Application Form 2019
  • BEC 2 Checklist 2019
  • External Applications Reviewer Fee
  • Policy and Principles on Biobanks 2017
  • BEC List of Approved Biobanks Jan 2017

Clinical Drug Trials

How to apply?

Application forms may be downloaded from http://www.witshealth.co.za by clicking on Ethics. In the latter case, a fee is payable.

Contact:

Admin Supervisor
Jennifer Bryce-Borthwick
Tel: (011) 274-9278
E Mail: jbryce@witshealth.co.za

Ethics Administrator
Augustina Hennessy
Tel: (011) 274-9279
E Mail: ahennessy@witshealth.co.za

Ethics Administrator
Eric Moso
Tel: (011) 274-9280
E Mail: emoso@witshealth.co.zaHuman Research Ethics Committee (Medical)

All research activities under the auspices of the University of the Witwatersrand requires ethics clearance for research involving human participants. The rule of thumb is that any staff or students from the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) must submit an application for ethics clearance to the HREC (Medical) if the research involves any human participants. If the proposed reseach is done at a medical facility (hospital or clinic, etc.) with/out medical professionals then an application for ethics clearance must be submitted to the HREC (Medical).

New full applications must be submitted online follow link:https://www.witsethics.co.za/Login.aspx

The following categories will remain paper based: renewals, annual recertifications, progress reports, protocol violations, protocol amendments, case reports, ethics waivers,substudies, lab study, urgent communicable diseases outbreaks and reciprocal studies approved by other primary universities.

Submit two hardcopies to –  Research Office, Faculty of Health Sciences, Phillip Tobias Building, Offices 301-304, 3rd Floor, Cnr York Road and 29 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown, 2193.

For enquiries regarding progress or outcome of ethics application contact the Research Administrator – Mr Rhulani Mkansi Rhulani.Mkansi@wits.ac.za or Ms Zanele Ndlovu  zanele.ndlovu@wits.ac.za  – 011 717 1252/2700/1234/2656

How to apply?

  • Application to the Human Research Ethics Committee (Medical) for Clearance of Research Involving Human Subjects
  • HREC (Medical) Submission and Meeting dates for 2019 (Closed meeting – Applicants do not attend the meeting)
  • Application form checklist
  • Information sheet
  • Guidelines for Acceptable Blood Volumes by Weight for Research with Minors

Downloads

  • Ethics Meeting and Submission Dates 2019
  • Ethics Waiver, Case report and sub study
  • HREC (M) application form 2019 approved 03 December 2018
  • Information Sheet
  • Operational Guidelines for Ministerial Consent
  • HREC (Medical) Checklist 2019
  • Ethics Waiver form 2019

Human Research Ethics Committee (Non-Medical)

All research activities under the auspices of the University of the Witwatersrand requires ethics clearance from the HREC (non-medical) if it involves humans participants; and if the research includes social, educational and/or psychological behaviour or perceptions, personal data required by an institution. This excludes research activities at a medical facility; e.g. hospitals, clinics, research labs, pharmacies, etc.

How to apply?

  • A new online Ethics Management System (EMS) with Ethics User Guide is available on link: https://www.witsethics.co.za/Login.aspx
  • Applicants can self-register, save, download, and submit their online ethic applications for approval to the various ethics committees.
  • The Applicant is requested to submit ONE (1) hard copy of the online application form after submitting online to the office of the Secretariat: Room 10 004, 10th Floor, Solomon Mahlangu House (formerly Senate House), East Campus. See documents to download below.

Please contact Shaun Schoeman, Shaun.Schoeman@wits.ac.za or 011717 1408 for queries.

In addition to the online application, you are requested to submit one signed hardcopy of the online application and supporting documents (i.e. proposal, participant information sheet(s), consent form(s), instruments and permission letters if applicable to your study) to the Research Office, Solomon Mahlangu House, 10th floor, room 10004. Please note that your application will not be reviewed if the signed hardcopy of your application and supporting documents are not submitted

Downloads 

  • HREC- (NON-MED) SUBMISSION DATES FOR 2019
  • HREC- (NON-MED) SUBMISSION DATES FOR 2018
  • Guidelines for completion of applications to Human Ethics (Non-Medical) Committe
  • Standard Operating Procedures SOP of the Human Research Ethics Committee
  • Appeals form
  • Ethics complaint structure
  • Ethics complaints form
  • Example of a Consent Form
  • Example of a Participant Information Sheet
  • Ethics handling of Honours and MRR projects REVISED

Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC)

Biosafety is concerned with the containment methods required when managing parasites, infectious agents and infected or potentially infected animals, tissues or other materials. The purpose is to reduce exposure of laboratory workers, other persons and the outside environment, to potentially hazardous agents.

Four principles of biomedical ethics are generally recognised:

  • autonomy (respect for the person – a notion of human dignity
  • beneficence (benefit to the research participant)
  • non-maleficence (absence of harm to the participant)
  • justice (notably distributive justice – equal distribution of risks and benefits between communities

Worker and public safety is of paramount concern. Workers must be adequately trained and provided with a working environment in which the necessary facilities and equipment are available. If this is done and the guidelines below are observed, risk to the general public will be minimised.



When considering research protocols, the Biosafety Committee is involved in various processes, including risk assessment, which would include, but not be limited to:

  • concentration and quantity of organisms
  • stability and viability of organism
  • potential for transmission, by contact or aerosol
  • nature of the work
  • specific risks associated with genetically-modified organisms (GMO s)
  • risk of harmful bi-products
  • risk of unknown contaminants

Downloads

  • General Information
  • Application for Laboratory Certification
  • IBCAppFm
  • Model Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
  • IBC – Committee Procedures
  • Biosafety Level (BSL) checklist
  • Application for Project Approval