TO: Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs
FROM: Paul Young and Cheryl Misak
DATE: July, 6th, 2011
RE: Recruitment and Recognition of REB and ACC members
As we embark on a new academic year, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight the very important work of our Research Ethics Board (REB) and Animal Care Committee (ACC) members.
Properly constituted and functioning REBs and ACCs are essential for the continuity of human and animal research, enabling us to meet the ethical standards mandated through federal and provincial legislation and through a Memorandum of Understanding with the federal granting councils. The men and women who serve on our REBs and ACCs benefit the University research community as a whole, as well as their home departments and faculties, ensuring that each protocol is reviewed thoughtfully and consistently, in compliance with the regulatory requirements.
The workload for these faculty members is substantial in comparison to other committees. Over the past 3 years, REBs and ACCs have reviewed over 4500 protocol submissions per year. Their total time involvement - including meetings and pre- and post-meeting activities approximates 6-10 hours per member, per month. This adds up to an annual contribution of over 100 hours of service per member, per year.
REB Chairs spend additional time handling reviews and related issues, and attending Research Ethics Policy and Advisory Committee (REPAC) meetings. ACC Chairs attend University Animal Care Committee (UACC) meetings and played a tremendous role in our recent Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) site visit, which occurred over two days and entailed much preparatory and post-visit work. These extra duties account for an additional 50 or more service hours per chair, per year.
Because of the high workload involved in the regulatory and ethics review of research projects involving human and animals, each department and faculty that submits to the REB or ACC has a responsibility to work with the Office of Research Ethics (ORE) to ensure continuity of appropriate representation on these boards and committees. This entails that, upon request by the ORE, a list of potential candidates from the faculty is provided. It would be useful for departmental heads to maintain a short list of potential candidates to prevent gaps in representation.
It is important that Chairs and Deans recognize the importance of their service to the University and to their home departments and faculties, and the successful candidate is supported by the faculty and department throughout the term of their appointment to an REB or ACC. Furthermore, their contribution to each should be recognized in the annual reviews and PTR/merit process and valued appropriately.