Ethics Review


The Office of Human Research Ethics, on behalf of Western’s Research Ethics Boards (REB), manages the approval and monitoring process for the use of humans in research at Western University and its affiliated hospitals and research institutes. All research with human participants conducted by faculty, staff and students must be approved by a Western University Research Ethics Board before the research begins.

Ethics Applications: All applications for ethics approval for research with human participants must be submitted online through the Western Research Ethics Management (WREM) system for consideration by a Research Ethics Board (REB).

Most research conducted at the faculties of Information & Media Studies (FIMS), Law and Music will fall under the jurisdiction of the Non-Medical Research Ethics Board (NMREB).  As each new application is received by the NMREB, it will be assessed for level of risk and designated for delegated review (minimal risk) or for review by the Full Board. Many applications from the Faculties of Information and Media Studies, Law and Music are eligible for delegated review as they involve very low risk procedures and adult participants. Any application that is set for delegated review will be reviewed by one reviewer from the researcher’s faculty.

If your research is health-related you may need to submit to the Health Sciences Research Ethics Board (HSREB). Please consult this chart if you are unsure to which REB you should apply.

The Office of Human Research Ethics has resources to help with WREM submissions. If you require assistance with WREM please contact, or 519-661-3036.  Also available on the Office of Human Research Ethics website are templates for Letters of Information & Consent, recruitment etc.

Amendments / Revisions to Approved Ethics Proposals: All revisions/ amendments to ongoing studies must be sent to the Office of Human Research Ethics through WREM.

Guidelines and Handbooks

Mandatory Training

Western Research has recently implemented mandatory human research ethics training for all study team members, including faculty, librarians, archivists, students, postdoctoral scholars and staff.  See “Mandatory Training” on this web page for more information and links to the OWL site to upload your certificate of completion.

Tutorials & Webinars

 See also related ethics postings on this blog.


Release of Funds Prior to Ethics Approval

The Release of Funds Agreement enables Principal Investigators (PI) to access their research funding prior to obtaining approval for research involving humans or animals. In cases where:

  • projects are insufficiently advanced for review of the study protocol (for example, questionnaires not yet developed; you need to hire Research Assistants to do some background work), or
  • where the portion of the research involving humans does not occur until subsequent years of the project, PI may apply to have their research funding conditionally released.

photo credit: Balance Scales (Ethics) via photopin (license)

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