In order to promote that UPF research projects involving human subjects fulfil basic ethics and personal data protection requirements, CIREP has established the following procedure:
Step 1. Review Application Reception
CIREP receives a complete application, which contains the following documents.
1.1. Self-Assessment Ethics Checklist
The ethics and personal data protection checklist helps the principal investigator determine whether a project must be submitted to review.
1.2. Summary Form
The summary form includes the project title, a 300-word abstract, research field, participant profile, beginning and end dates, and whether it is a collaborative project.
1.3. Procedure Form
The procedure form describes the methods, participants, recruitment methods, and personal data processing strategies involved in the project.
1.4. Informed Consent Form
The informed consent form describes the participation in a clear and intelligible manner so that potential participants can make an informed decision whether to participate or not.
Step 2. Prescreening
Before registering the new application, CIREP checks that all the documentation provided is complete and that the information provided is sufficient to evaluate the project. In the prescreening phase, PIs may be required to provide more information.
Step 3. Ethics Review
After the application has been registered, it is sent to the committee members, a coordinator is assigned, and the review process, which includes different steps, is initiated.
3.1. External Peer Review
Apart from the evaluation by a CIREP member, another independent peer review is requested from an expert in the relevant field. The external peer reviewer examines all the documentation and fills out a form. Download the external peer review form.
3.2. Personal Data Processing Review
If the project involves processing personal data, an expert in these matters reviews its adequacy to the relevant regulations and provides an independent assessment.
3.3. Integrated Review
The coordinator combines the different reports into an integrated review draft, which includes recommendations and requests that PIs need to address. The draft is shared with all the committee members.
CIREP members meet on a monthly basis and discuss all the applications. As a consequence, a decision on the ethics and personal data review is reached and a final version of the integrated review is produced.
The integrated review is sent to the IP, who has to revise and resubmit their original application in a two-week deadline.
3.6. Final Decision
The committee evaluates the revised documentation. At this point, most applications are approved, although some applications require further revisions.
Step 4. Approval
An ethics review certificate is issued. In addition, in case of UPF projects that involve personal data processing, a personal data certificate is also expedited and signed by UPF’s Data Protection officer.
CIREP does not review research projects retroactively. Thus, researchers need to apply for ethical review before they start their project.
The estimated duration of an ethics and data protection review procedure is 12 weeks. The meeting calendar and tentative application submission dates are listed here.