ToR for Research and Ethics Committee

The Research and Ethics Committee deals with all of the ethical aspects of procedures where living beings participate in research, these include confidentiality and privacy issues in addition to the physical and psychological welfare of participants.

Composition

Membership of the Committee
Membership shall be as follows:

  • Four experienced researchers from REC,
  • One from Ministry of Education,
  • One from Royal University of Bhutan,
  • One from National Statistical Bureau, and
  • One from an established independent research firm.

Selection of the members will be based on individuals for their knowledge, qualities and experience and not as representatives of any organisation, group or opinion. All appointment are for three years and may be renewable.
Members are not offered remuneration, however, members will be reimbursed for legitimate expenses incurred in attending Research and Ethics Committee meetings or in otherwise carrying out the business of the Research and Ethics Committee.
Membership will lapse if a member fails to attend three consecutive meetings or send comment without apology or reasonable excuse. Membership will also lapse if members fail to attend at least four meetings in a calendar year.
Members shall receive a formal notice of appointment and a guarantee that the institution accepts legal responsibility for decisions and advice from the Panel and indemnifies its members accordingly. Members are bound by the RGoB Conflict of Interest Policy. Members of the Research and Ethics Committee shall maintain the confidence of applicants and their proposals, ensuring that they do not discuss or disclose details of submissions outside the meeting forum, apart from discussion undertaken with another member of the Committee. If the committee seeks advice from experts in considering a proposal, these experts are bound by the same confidentiality requirements. All general discussions within the forum of the meetings must remain in confidence.

Function

Main Functions

  1. Review proposals for research to be undertaken by staff or on the premises of the Council, to determine whether they are ethically acceptable and in accordance with relevant standards and guidelines.
  2. Grant approval for research proposals, including amendments to proposals, where review has determined that they are ethically acceptable and in accordance with relevant standards and guidelines.
  3. Withhold ethical approval for research proposals where review has determined that they are not ethically acceptable and/or are not in accordance with relevant standards and guidelines.
  4. Withdraw/Revoke ethical approval for research proposals where review has determined that they are not ethically acceptable and/or are not in accordance with relevant standards and guidelines
  5. Monitor the conduct of approved research through the receipt of annual and completion reports.

Others

Meetings and Quorum

  1. The Research and Ethics Committee will meet face to face twice a year (February and August) for planned research undertaking, or as and when required for adhoc research studies.
  2. The quorum for meetings shall be 50% of the membership plus one.
  3. The chair of the meetings will provide all members opportunity to express relevant views on matters on the agenda.
  4. The Research and Ethics Committee endeavours to reach its decisions by general agreement based on review of the documents provided by researchers.
  5. Where a unanimous decision is not reached, the Chair will facilitate the expression of opinion from all members, identify points of agreement and of disagreements and accordingly make decision.
  6. Any significant minority view (i.e. 2 or more members) is noted in the minutes.
  7. Discussions of significant issues and decisions are recorded in the minutes.
  8. Where members wish, a record of their formal dissent from the decision of the Research and Ethics Committee is recorded in the minutes.
  9. Where further information is sought from applicants, the Chair will determine whether or not further committee review is required.
  10. To encourage free and open discussion and to emphasise the collegiate character of the Research and Ethics Committee, particular views are not attributed to particular individuals in the minutes, except in circumstances where a member seeks to have their opinions or objections recorded.
  11. The committee may invite any relevant official to the meeting to assist the committee in the attainment of its objectives.
  12. The final minutes shall be circulated to the REC Director within two weeks of the meeting.

Authority
The Committee has jurisdiction over the research of all REC staff and all visiting staff, including those using REC facilities.

Performance Evaluation

The Research and Ethics Committee shall, at least once a year, review its own performance and its terms of reference and shall report its conclusions and recommend any changes it considers necessary to the Director of REC.