Research Ethics/Protection of Human Participants


In 2015, the University of Guelph tendered an RFP for a Research Administration and Information Management System. Since that time, we have been working to more thoroughly understand how to use the selected software to support our needs, initially for the Human Ethics module, and more recently, for Grants and Contracts and the OMAFRA Partnership.

Unfortunately, a number of issues have arisen that cannot be overcome. Accordingly, we have decided that it is in the best interests of the University to pursue a different solution.

We are exploring several options to provide interim and longer-term system solutions for ResearchLink. An immediate priority will be to find a viable online solution for Human Ethics support. For now, we will continue to use the manual process outlined below for Human Ethics protocol submissions.

More information will be forthcoming as decisions are made.
We appreciate your continuing support.


  • All students are now required to undergo “CORE” training prior to engaging in research involving human participants. The Course on Research Ethics (CORE), which is offered on-line free of charge by the Tri-Council’s Panel on Research Ethics, is self-guided and normally takes 2 to 3 hours to complete. 
    Students are advised to register using their,, or email address, list the University of Guelph or the University of Guelph-Humber as their institution, and keep a digital copy of the certificate of completion that is provided.  The certificate can be used for multiple future research projects. Please see Policy section below for full statement.
  • An Annual Report, produced by the Ethics Office on behalf of the Chairs of the REB-General and REB-Natural, Physical and Engineering Sciences, summarizes the work of the REB members and the Ethics Office during the fiscal year, and the goals for the coming year. Information about current membership, number and distribution of submissions, as well as metrics on the functioning of the two boards are included, along with updates on process or procedure and educational outreach to the community. The report is reviewed by both REBs and approved by the Chairs prior to release.
  • The Ethics Office has created a short (3 minute) survey to obtain your feedback on your experience with the REB process. Your input and observations are important to us. Have your Say: Tell us how we did


Research Ethics Board – Natural, Physical and Engineering Sciences (REB-NPES)

Research Ethics Board – General

When should you submit?

  • Please submit your application as soon as you can
  • Minimal risk studies can be submitted anytime
  • Studies requiring full board review (higher than minimal risk) MUST be submitted at least two weeks prior to the meeting date. Submitting by this deadline does not guarantee that your project will be reviewed on that specific meeting date.

If your submission requires pre-review clarification it will be reviewed at the next full board meeting once pre-review clarification is complete. Give yourself time.


Become familiar with the policies and guidelines. Consult with the ethics office regarding your research project: or X58024

  • Brown Bag Lunches - Held each Tuesday
    • Note: Please check the main Brown Bag Lunches page for any upcoming cancellations or schedule changes.
  • In-class or departmental presentations by the Director, Research Ethics available upon request from or X56606.
  • Make an appointment to discuss your project with the Director. Contact

If your research involves human participants at any point, a valid REB number must be provided to Research Support Services prior to an account set-up. In some cases, it may not be feasible to obtain REB clearance if you are not yet able to submit a complete application. The Research Ethics Board (REB) is unable to review submissions that are not complete, and will not provide approvals ‘in principle’. If you must access funds before you are ready to submit an ethics application, please submit the Statement of Intent for Release of Funds Prior to Ethics Approval. Use an electronic signature on this form and submit as an email attachment, or print, sign, scan, and then email the form to



How do I submit a new REB Application for the REB to review?

  1. Complete your Human Ethics submission using the Word document .
  2. Email your submission to
    1. Attach the REB Application as a Word document
    2. Also attach any other documents (as Word documents where possible) such as Consent Forms, Recruitment documents, Questionnaires, etc.
  3. All communications will occur by email with the Ethics Office.
  4. You will receive a notice of receipt of your new REB application.

I’ve already submitted using ResearchLink, but it hasn’t been approved. What happens now?

Any application currently under review which was submitted through ResearchLink will continue the review process. All future communications, however, will occur by email until ResearchLink is back online.

I need to submit an Amendment, and my application was approved in ResearchLink. What do I do now?

  1. Please submit the Word-based Amendment form
  2. The Ethics Office will supply you with copies of the eForm, and any other documents you wish to amend.
  3. Amend all documents using track changes and submit ‘clean’ and ‘tracked’ versions for review to
  4. All communications will occur by email with the Ethics Office.

I need to submit an Amendment, and my application was approved before ResearchLink. What do I do now?

  1. Please submit the Word-based Amendment form
  2. The Ethics Office will supply you with copies of your original REB App, and any other documents you wish to amend.
  3. Amend all documents using track changes and submit ‘clean’ and ‘tracked’ versions for review to
  4. All communications will occur by email with the Ethics Office.



REB App – this is the main application form.

Amendment Form – use this form if you are altering an approved submission.

Annual Renewal Form – use this form if you wish to renew a submission for another year OR if you wish to close a submission.


  • Biospecimens Supplement
    • Include ONLY IF this project is will involve the collection of physical samples from a human
  • Secondary Use Supplement
    • Include ONLY IF this project will involve the secondary use of data or human tissue samples
  • Cross Cultural Supplement
    • Include ONLY IF this project involves Indigenous peoples, or any culturally distinct identifiable group
  • Clinical Trial Supplement
    • Include ONLY IF this project is a clinical trial. See Chapter 11 of the TCPS2 for the definition of a clinical trial.



  • Every project will require an Annual Renewal submission by the anniversary of the approval date. You will receive a reminder four weeks prior to the anniversary date and two weeks prior to the anniversary date. An Annual Renewal submission can either notify the Ethics Office that the project is complete or request another year of clearance.
  • Please use this Annual Renewal Form during the ResearchLink shutdown.
  • If your research has changed or has received new funding, create an Amendment submission and let us know. You will need to also amend your consent document if you are still using one.
  • An Event Report must be submitted if something occurs during the course of your research project which should be communicated to the REB. The form provides guidance on the types of information which must be reported, but feel free to use this form to report an occurrence you feel is important. Check with the Director, Research Ethics if you're not sure about reporting. The Event Report is processed outside of the ResearchLink system.


Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, 2ndEdition (TCPS2)
The questions asked in the REB Application eForm are drawn from the TCPS2, 2ND Edition.

The CORE tutorial 
The Panel on Research Ethics has created an online tutorial which provides an applied approach to the guidance provided in TCPS2. CORE is designed primarily for the use of researchers and REB members. 

Create a new account using your University email address and save a copy of the certificate you are issued. For students, it is mandatory to submit this certificate with any Human Ethics submission you are a part of. This tutorial is highly recommended for faculty, staff, and students undertaking research projects involving humans. 


Guideline for Obtaining Consent